What is Halloween?
The following article is one of many resources in the Halloween Language Activities packet for grades 3-4 by Rick’s Resources. The companion Halloween products – Halloween Math Activities and Halloween Bingo – are also available and provide kids at school and at home with fun and engaging activities around the Halloween holiday.
[dropcap]H[/dropcap]alloween is a celebration observed in many countries on October 31. The customs may have begun over 2000 years ago by the Irish Celts. November 1, marked the end of summer and the harvest and the beginning of winter where many crops “died” back and the days became dark and dreary. The Celts also believed that on the day before the new winter season the ghosts of the dead returned to earth. They set up feasts and set places for the dead. Children went door to door to collect food for the feasts. Costumes were worn to hide from some of the more evil spirits.
Years later, Christians switched the date of All Saints Day to November 1 and All Hallows’ Eve to October 31 – matching the dates of the Celt festivals. They, too, sent children door-to-door to collect “soul cakes” as a way to help those who have already passed away. It was also believed that the dead wandered the earth on All Hallows’ Eve – October 31. Many of the righteous wanted to hide from them by wearing costumes.
Today, Halloween isn’t connected as much to religion or ancient festivals. Instead, it has become more about having fun in the neighborhood and community. Many still dress up in costumes and go door-to-door trick-or-treating. Others have fun at parties playing games and activities with friends and neighbors. Although Halloween is now mostly a fun and carefree time, there is still some mystery and superstition surrounding it that reminds us of its origins of the past.