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Halloween Tradition , Costumes and Rituals

Aug 17, 2007
There are few holiday events, celebrations or rituals like Halloween. Especially for kids, it is a time for them let loose and pretend, feel emotions they wouldn't often feel, and spend time with their friends in an unstructured environment. It's one tradition we should hold onto and enjoy more.

What started centuries ago in Ireland as All Saints Day to honor Catholic Saints, became All Hallows Eve and evolved to a strange ritual with an almost slang expression, Halloween. Rather than warding off evil spirits, Halloween in modern times for kids is more of an opportunity to scare and be scared safely. It is the only celebration of the year where whole communities become one big family and youths walk the dark streets to collect candy and show off their kids Halloween costumes.

Although few people know much about Halloween, it is one of those events that captures the imagination of many. It has spawned a multimillion dollar industry built around merchandise such as Halloween costumes, candy confectionaries, theatre and movie entertainment, and for collecting funds for charities. It is one of the few times kids get free reign of their imagination and can let loose their inhibitions. At school, Halloween is celebrated with plays and games, and visits outside the school to haunted houses.

Halloween Origins-The Celtic tradition of Halloween is thought to have been brought to America and Canada from Irish immigrants in the 1840's. Long ago the Celtic people set October 31st as summer's end and the beginning of a new year. They had belief where the disembodied spirits of all those who had died in the last year would return in search of living bodies to possess for the next year. They extinguished all lights and fires and made their homes cold. They would don ghoulish costumes and parade around the neighbourhood to frighten away those spirits looking for bodies to possess.

The Jack' O Lantern is perhaps the foremost symbol of Halloween closely followed by ghosts. Before modern manufactured Halloween costumes, the ghost was one of the most common costume themes for the Hallow's Eve evening out. The Jack O' Lantern comes from Celtic lore about a hard drinking and stingy Irishman named Jack who met the devil in a pub on Halloween. Jack was a tricky soul and was about to fall prey to the devil after drinking too much. He made a deal with the devil by offering up his soul for one more drink. The devil had to change himself into a coin so Jack could pay for that drink. But Jack just pocketed the coin in a sack that had a silver cross in it and the Devil couldn't do a thing. Later, the Devil returned to collect Jack's soul while he was walking a country road in the Irish countyside. The ever-tricky Jack asked the Devil to climb a tree and pick an apple and the Devil complied. When the Devil was in the tree, Jack carved a cross in the tree so the Devil could not come back down.

When Jack finally died years later, he went to heaven but was turned away because of all his drinking, tricking and miserable ways. Even at the gates of hell, Jack was turned away by the Devil and told to go back whence he came. Jack asked the devil for a light because the road back was so dark. The Devil tossed him a burning ember from his hell fire and jack carried it in a hollowed out turnip he was eating. Ever since, as legend has it, Jack is wandering around in the dark with his lantern.

In North America, turnips were not in huge supply. Instead pumpkins were used for Jack O' Lanterns and are a big part of the Halloween tradition today. Irish residents were always afraid of Jack returning or some other ghost of the departed would appear. They would wear costumes to frighten them away and would also leave food at their doorstep to keep the ghosts occupied. That was the start of the trick or treat ritual that most kids take part in today when they walk the neighbourhood streets on Hallow's Eve. The trick part was probably in honor of old Jack.

Today, the celebration is fairly tame but kids still walk the streets wearing ghoulish clothing and knocking on neighbor's doors and there's plenty of parties across the country. There's pranks too, which was a part of the Celtic tradition too. Probably more of Jack's work.

Halloween Costumes-On the topic of Halloween costumes, there are hundreds of ideas for costumes and many people enjoy making their kids costumes. There's always the Darth Vador, Pirate, Witch, Superman, Princess, Batman, Skeleton, Ninja, Cowboy, Dracula costumes, and many other costume themes born out of the movie industry. This year's preferences may be the Pirates of the Caribbean, Harry Potter, Narnia Medieval Warriors, but the cost of this apparel might frighten you.

For a less amount you might want to consider sports costumes. There are youths sports outfits that you can use as Halloween costumes or even as kids pajamas. Not only are kids thrilled dressing up as a football player for instance, but they can actually sleep in them after the Halloween parties and tradition is over. If you have several kids to put in costumes this Halloween, you might want to make them last a while. And kids rarely want to put on the same costume they had last year, and they grow out of them too.

Instead, you'll want to make the most of your purchase by having something they can use again. Football uniforms with NFL football team and College Football team logos and player numbers are a big thrill for boys. Some uniforms even come with shoulder pads and plastic helmets. They're not for real contact football, but for the child to play with Dad in the backyard or just dree up for the living room. Dad will like having them dressed up before the big game on Sunday and especially if they're going to an NFL or College football game.

Yes, Halloween is a fun time and you don't have to overdo it with the usual ghosts and goblin theme, or by buying the latest expensive Hollywood promoted monster or slasher character and related merchandise. The football costumes actually keep the memories of Halloween alive longer.
About the Author
fanshopinc.com's selection of NFL merchandise and youth NFL uniform sets is outstanding. They are the place to buy Kids Halloween costumes.
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