Halloween in the USA

It's that spooky time of year when ghosts and witches show up at our door step, werewolves and zombies stagger down the street, and spider webs with occasional spiders grace even the cleanest of homes.

Halloween can be fun, scary, spooky, exciting, and a great time to grab the camera and take tons of photos. Kids in pumpkin patches searching for the favorite pumpkin.. Hay rides and bonfires, piles of leaves to jump in and haunted houses and corn mazes crop up all over.

Halloween is, however, more than just candy and costumes. it actually has a very old history and can be traced back over 2000 years. It started as a Celtic festival called Samhain, which means summer's end in Gaelic. It was a time to get ready for the winter months and reflect on the dead. Samhain, later known as All hallows eve was considered a time special for spirits of the dead to cross over to the other world.

Historians believe that since all saints day was celebrated on November first, that Samhain, or All Hallows Eve,, being so close to this holiday on the calendar, just sort of became combined.

Early Halloween festivities were not about trick or treat at all, but more about people dressing up and asking for food, Often, in exchange for prayers for the dead. Trick or treat in the USA actually didn't even start until after World War 2, and was started because the tradition of playing tricks was getting out of hand. Egging houses and putting toilet paper in trees was a nuisance, but when the pranks became more dangerous, dressing up and going door to door for candy was a safe option to playing pranks and creating mischief.

These days, Halloween is even further changing in the states. The fear of razor blades in candy or tainted treats have had parents lining up to x-ray their children's candy before they are allowed to eat it, and many towns have even encouraged churches and schools to host parties rather than have the kids roaming the streets. Times are well established, and generally during early twilight hours and not late into the night as in years past.

As this is a practice for younger kids, the older teens, such as those that drive themselves and have to shave before putting on a mask are discouraged to beg for candy!

Older kids and adults have started to embrace Halloween as a time to host costume parties and haunted houses, particularly as a fall fundraiser. Contests such as growing the largest pumpkin and carving the best pumpkin, is enjoyed by those of all ages. Party ideas abound, with traditional harvest colors of orange and black and purple. Check out Pinterest for amazing Halloween recipes and decorations.

Finally, Candy lovers rejoice. Americans buy more than 600 million pounds of candy for this holiday, making it the most profitable holiday for candy makers. This is followed only by Easter and Christmas, and of course Valentine's Day.

Halloween in the USA is a fun time for all and a great holiday to document for stock, be it videos, photography, or creating spooky graphics.

Most of all enjoy the traditions and oh, eat a piece of candy! But save some for the trick or treat kids, or else you might be sorry!

Happy Halloween

Scary witch with cauldron for candy

Spooky spider web against a purple background

Piles of pumpkins in michigan

Scary white ghost in the trees

Child tries to pick up giant pumpkin

Scary corn monster

Retro penny candy display

Photo credits: Susan Sheldon.

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Very eye-opening for Europeans. Halloween comes more and more in our countries. But specially in Germany we have St. Martin, a traditional holiday, when children go singing with tinkered lanterns from house to house to get sweets. And as Perstock wrote, I also hope to land some photos here on DT...


nice pictures... thanks for sharing.


Hi Susan!
Halloween is a pretty new tradition in Sweden.
I´ts quite popular although most Swedes consider it as a more commercial thing. Anyway, the children loves it...
A much older tradition is to put candlelights on the dead realatives and friends graves. This is done on ”All Saints Day" in the end of October. Swedes in common is not as religious as Americans and those who are, are mostly members to the Swedish Lutheran church wich is not known for many rituals. But in All Saints Day everybody come together and put lights on the graves and its really a beautiful traditition. Also - it lights up the misty and dark period before the snow comes.
Hope to land some photos soon here on DT on this subject...


a blog about Halloween in the USA.. would love to hear more traditions from others around the world.. at least the places where it is celebrated anyways.

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