Pumpkin

Holidays in America: Halloween

pumpkin

It’s October, the weather is cooling down, and pumpkins are popping up on porches everywhere. This can only mean one thing — it’s nearly holiday season in America, and we can look forward to celebrating frequently until the arrival of 2014.

As an introduction to the season, we’ll be posting a series on the blog titled “Holidays in America.” Check back often for information on the upcoming celebrations!

Typically, the American holiday season begins with a Halloween celebration on October 31. Halloween, which began as “All Hallows’ Eve,” was traditionally a harvest feast which commemorated the recently and dearly departed. A quick Google search, however, will show that Halloween has morphed into something of a modern party holiday that bears little resemblance to its roots. Children dress in costume and visit the homes in their neighborhood in a practice known as “trick-or-treating,” where they offer to show off their disguises in exchange for something sweet by saying “trick or treat!” when the homeowner opens the door.

Somewhat unfortunately, it’s also a night for daring practical jokers to strike. The following morning, you may see toilet paper hanging from trees, or pumpkins crushed on a front lawn.

Many adults get into the spirit as well, partaking in activities like walking through “haunted” houses, throwing costume parties, and turning pumpkins into “jack-o’lanterns” — a tradition of emptying out the pumpkin, carving a face or message into the side, and lighting it from within to cast a spooky shadow. Halloween is also a great time to enjoy a scary movie- many theaters show classic horror films in honor of the holiday.

For your own Halloween enjoyment, there are popular events around the Upstate for children and adults alike: a plethora of pumpkin patches and hayrides, a “haunted” house tour, and some not-too-scary fun for the kids at the Greenville Zoo and Greenville Children’s Museum.