Halloween in the United States

One of the most anticipated holidays for Americans has finally arrived!

Halloween, of Celtic origin and not American as many people think, is usually celebrated in the USA in style.

Halloween (contraction of All Hallows’ Eve), also known as Halloween or All Hallows’ Eve, is a modern celebration resulting from the syncretism originated by the Christianization of the end-of-summer festival of Celtic origin called Samhain.

Normally the tradition is to enjoy it with family, friends, co-workers, and even attending large organized events.
Halloween-related festivities are usually celebrated on October 31 or the weekends before and after Halloween. In the university environment it is usually celebrated repeatedly, not just on a single day.

Halloween in the United StatesImage: Jill Wellington

In the United States, adults generally celebrate Halloween by watching scary movies, going to costume parties with friends or visiting haunted houses or cemeteries.

On the other hand, similar to what we do today in Spain, the little ones dress up in costumes and go around the neighborhood trick-or-treating, asking for candy or small gifts from door to door. In the case of not receiving anything, the children may do some kind of “mischief” to the house or its inhabitants, such as throwing eggs against the facades.

Originally the famous “Trick or Treat” was a popular legend of Celtic origin according to which not only the spirits of the departed were free to roam the Earth on Halloween night, but all kinds of entities from all spiritual realms.

Among these, there was a terribly malevolent one who wandered through towns and villages, going from house to house asking for “trick-or-treaters”. This was called jack-o’-lantern, which is the name by which the traditional Halloween pumpkins are known.

The legend assures that the best thing to do was to make a deal, no matter the cost, because if you did not make a pact with this spirit, he would use his powers to make a “trick”, which would consist of cursing the house and its inhabitants, giving them all kinds of misfortunes and curses, such as making the family sick, killing the livestock with plagues or even burning the house itself.

This is how the idea of pumpkins with horrendous shapes was born, in order to protect themselves and avoid encountering the specter. Today it is another tradition of this holiday and people make faces on pumpkins and turn them into decorative lanterns for home gardens.

Halloween in the United States Halloween in the United States

Image: Jill Wellington
Image: Alabama University

In most American universities there are contests where students’ skills and imagination are put to the test to create amazing pumpkins.

Although it may seem like it, Halloween is not a U.S. holiday. Government and business offices remain open and public transportation services are on the same schedule as usual. Anyway, you can see in the atmosphere that people are celebrating and are extremely careful when driving at night to watch out for children and families on the streets doing “Trick-or-treat”.

Halloween in the United States

On campuses, universities also celebrate these holidays in a traditional way. Most of them organize, in addition to pumpkin contests, events such as “haunted university” in which a group of people dress up in costumes and scare students at night.

Students over 21 often go out to bars in costume and the more festive ones can celebrate Halloween for a whole week. On occasion, bars around college campuses prepare Halloween-themed drinks, decorate the premises and the bartenders also dress up in costumes.

Halloween is one of the most popular holidays in the US, people celebrate it almost as much as Christmas. If you are in the U.S. during the month of October, you are sure to find some Halloween related festivities. Get out on the street and soak up the atmosphere!

Halloween in the United States