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Halloween Costume Day

07 November 2009
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Obama celebrating Happy Halloween

Obama and his wife with kids celebrating Halloween

happy Halloween

Girls celebrating Halloween

Halloween (also spelled Hallowe'en) is an annual holiday celebrated on October 31. Halloween activities include trick-or-treating, wearing costumes and attending costume parties, carving jack-o'-lanterns, ghost tours, bonfires, visiting haunted attractions, pranks, telling scary stories, and watching horror films.

The name is derived from Old Irish and means roughly "summer's end". The ancient Celts believed that the border between this world and the Otherworld became thin on Samhain, allowing spirits (both harmless and harmful) to pass through. The family's ancestors were honoured and invited home whilst harmful spirits were warded off. It is believed that the need to ward off harmful spirits led to the wearing of costumes and masks. Their purpose was to disguise oneself as a harmful spirit and thus avoid harm.

The colours black and orange are associated with the celebrations, perhaps because of the darkness of night and the colour of fire, autumn leaves, or pumpkins. Elements of the autumn season, such as pumpkins, corn husks, and scarecrows, are also prevalent. Homes are often decorated with these types of symbols around Halloween.

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