Halloween, celebrated on October 31, is a mix of ancient practices, rituals, festivals and European folk traditions that over time have blended together to create the holiday we know today.
Major contributors to today's Halloween, are:
- Celtic holiday of Samhain
- Catholic Hallowmas period of All Saints' Day and All Souls' Day
- Roman festival of Feralia
- Spain’s El Dia De Los Muertos 3 day celebration October 31-November 2. Also celebrated in Latin America and Mexico
- England's Guy Fawkes Day
Halloween straddles the line between fall and winter, plenty and paucity, life and death and is filled with mystery and magic; is it any wonder that it is a time of celebration and superstition?
Here are some great Halloween Fire & Safety Tips from the National Fire Prevention Association (NFPA) and the Red Cross:
- When choosing a costume, stay away from billowing or long trailing fabric. If your child is wearing a mask, make sure the eye holes are large enough so they can see out. Wigs, capes and costumes are flammable attire, so avoid open flames to prevent a fire!
- From the bravest of superheroes to the noblest of knights, everyone should remember to bring their flashlights! Provide children with flashlights to carry for lighting or glow sticks as part of their costume.
- Dried flowers, cornstalks and crepe paper are highly flammable. Keep these and other decorations well away from all open flames and heat sources, including light bulbs, and heaters.
- It is safest to use a flashlight or battery-operated candle in a jack-o-lantern. If you use a real candle, use extreme caution. Make sure children are watched at all times when candles are lit. When lighting candles inside jack-o-lanterns, use long, fireplace style matches or a utility lighter. Be sure to place lit pumpkins well away from anything that can burn and far enough out of way of trick-or-treaters, doorsteps, walkways and yards.
- Remember to keep exits clear of decorations, so nothing blocks escape routes.
- Tell children to stay away from open flames. Be sure they know how to stop, drop and roll if their clothing catches fire. Have them practice, stopping immediately, dropping to the ground, covering their face with hands, and rolling over and over to put the flames out.
- Use flashlights as alternatives to candles or torch lights when decorating walkways and yards. They are much safer for trick-or treaters, whose costumes may brush against the lighting.
- If your children are going to Halloween parties at others’ homes, have them look for ways out of the home and plan how they would get out in an emergency.
- Map out the route that you plan to roam, so adults are assured you will find your way home!
- If you visit a house where a stranger resides, accept treats at the door and, please, don’t go inside.
- When you get ready to put on your disguise, use face paint instead of masks, which may cover your eyes.
- Always remember, before you embark, to wear light-colored clothing to be seen in the dark! And remember to use reflective tape, even on bikes, and brooms and the edges of your cape!
- Whether you walk, slither or sneak, do it on the sidewalks and not in the street.
- As you roam through the neighborhood collecting your treats, please look both ways before crossing the street! (And speaking of streets, the corners are the place for trick or treaters to cross no mat¬ter their pace.)
- You may fly on a broom or a space ship from Mars, but please be on the lookout for drivers in cars! Between parked cars is no place to hide, be sure that you’re seen whether you’re a clown or a bride.
- Monsters and zombies should stay off the lawn and only visit homes with their porch lights turned on!
- You may be dressed as a werewolf, a cat or a frog, but be cautious around strange animals, especially dogs.
- Have a grown-up inspect your candy when you’re done trick-or-treating to remove open packages and choking hazards before eating.
I personally am going to add:
ALL Adults should drive with caution on Halloween as many costumes are “dark” and hard to see. With the advent of electric cars, many “trick or treaters” will NOT hear these new fangled vehicles approach and may step out in front of them. This also means to leave your “texting and driving” until you return home or pull to side of the road to perform your functions.
Read on to discover the history behind jack-o-lanturns, costumes, candied apples, haunted houses, fright nights and more.
PS - On Sunday, November 6 at 2 a.m., Daylight Saving Time ends in the United States. It used to end around the last Saturday night/Sunday morning before Halloween, which was a boon for trick-or-treaters. However, with the Energy Policy Act of 2005, it was extended daylight-saving time (starting in 2007), from the second Sunday in March to the first Sunday in November. (Previously it was from April to October.)