Halloween Practices to celebrate Halloween involve dressing up on Halloween costumes, plying Halloween party games and decorating homes with Halloween decorations. Halloween recipes ensure there is plenty of Halloween party food to coincide with this festivity.

Here are some of the most popular Halloween practices and customs.

Low-Priced Halloween Decorations and Favors – Shindigz

Halloween costumes

Halloween costumes is a fairly recent phenomena. There is almost no record of Halloween costumes in England or the United States until around 1900. Early costumes were based on the pagan and Gothic nature of Halloween. This evolved so that by the 1930s costumes were popular that were based on characters from films and literature.

Halloween was initially seen as a children’s holiday with early costumes targeted toward this market. However after the 1950s, as Halloween increasingly became celebrated by adults, Halloween costumes for adults become more popular and widely available.

Jack-o’-lantern

A jack-o’-lantern is a pumpkin carved to show a face. It was named after the spooky light flickering over peat bogs which was known as ignis fatuus or jack-o’-lantern. The pumpkin lid is usually sliced off and the inside flesh scooped out. A face, usually a wicked face, is then carved onto the outer surface of the pumpkin, a candle placed inside the pumpkin and lit and the and the lid sometimes replaced.

Jack-o’-lanterns typically stand on window sills or by doors of Halloween decorated houses. Nowadays there are many electrical versions available that are battery operated and safer than using candles especially where children are concerned.

Halloween masks

Halloween masks are often worn by someone as a part of a Halloween costume. These are usually made from latex rubber, vinyl, silicone rubber or foam latex. Latex masks are particularly popular for Halloween.

Such masks often portray monsters, skulls, witches, vampires, skeletons, mythical creatures, animals, zombies and figures from popular film, TV or cartoons.

Apple bobbing Halloween game

The Halloween games of apple bobbing or bobbing for apples is a game played in connection with Halloween and often at Halloween parties. Apple bobbing involves filling a tub with cold water and floating apples on the water. Players duck their head into the bowl of water and try and snag an apple with their teeth. Hands are not allowed to be used and are often tied behind a players’ back while they play apple bobbing.

Lately this Halloween game has been thought to be unsanitary due to a number of players place their mouths in the same water so for hygiene reasons apple boobing is becoming less popular.  A more hygienic take on this game is therefore sometimes used with a row of apples hung on string on a line for players to hook with their teeth.

Apple bobbing  dates back to the Roman conquer of Britain. They brought the apple tree with them, representing the goddess of fruit trees, Pomona. Pomonawas a fertility goddess. Young unmarried people tried to bite into an apple floating in water or hanging from string and the first one to bite into the apple signalled that person being the next one to marry.

Apple bobbing is also known as dooking in Scotland and Snap Dragon in Ireland.

Halloween Props and Decorations

Trick or treating

Trick or treat is a Halloween practice for children and probably the best known of all Halloween practices and customs.  Children dressed in Halloween costumes knock at local houses to ask for treats such as sweets or small change asking “Trick or treat?” when the door is opened to them. If not treat is offered to the visitors the custom is to play a “trick” on the homeowner.

In America, trick or treat has been a Halloween practice since the  1950s. The practice of going door to door for food existed in the UK  and Ireland and was called souling. Children and poor people sang and said prayers for the dead in return for sweet treats and cakes.

Guising was a custom in Scotland where children dressed in costumes travelling from door to door for food and money. This also predates trick or treat and was a Halloween practice in Scotland in around 1895.

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Halloween 13: Halloween Practices