Halloween celebrations have been a fright and a delight this year!
On Sunday 31st October 2021, we started to see people celebrating Halloween again after Halloween 2020 was cancelled by COVID-19. Halloween is an international holiday that is celebrated by people all over the world every year! Today, it is celebrated by putting pumpkins out on doorsteps, dressing up in scary costumes, and handing out sweets to trick-or-treaters. Due the global pandemic, Halloween wasn’t celebrated by many people last year because of the risk of spreading the virus. However, this year, many people are vaccinated and we were lucky to see this spooky time of the year being celebrated again.
Halloween, which is celebrated on 31st October, used to be called 'All Hallows Eve'. The word Halloween means Hallowed Evening, and the holiday originated from an ancient Celtic Festival called Samhain, which was also celebrated on 31st October. Celts lived over 2000 years ago, and they believed the evening of 31st October was the night that spirits came to earth; they would wear costumes and light bonfires to ward off the spirits. Celts would dress-up in disguises so that they could blend in with the ghosts. This is where the tradition of dressing-up on Halloween came from.
The idea of carving Jack-ó-Lanterns originated in Ireland hundred of years ago. People would usually harvest turnips at this time of year, so they would calve scary faces into the turnips to scare off Jack’s wandering soul. Jack, who comes from an old Irish myth, tricked the devil for his own gain and as a punishment couldn’t enter Heaven or Hell after death, leaving him to roam earth for evermore. Hence the name ‘Jack-ó-lantern’.
Around the world today, people celebrate Halloween in different ways. In Mexico, people celebrate The Day of the Dead which begins on 31st October and ends on 2nd November. They do this to honour the dead, who at this time are believed to return to their homes. Families construct altars, and light candles and incense to guide the way home.
In Stubbington, on Sunday 31st October 2021, the weather was very windy and rainy! The harsh winds prevented many spooky decorations from being put up as they risked being blown away. During the evening, once trick-or-treaters were out and enjoying themselves, a heavy downpour of rain occurred. Despite the wind and the rain, people continued to enjoy themselves and did not let the rain dampen their spirits. The roads were still not as busy as previous years; there were less houses handing out sweets, and not as many trick-or-treaters. However, a massive blow-up unicorn and two dinosaurs were spotted running around the streets of Stubbington!
Not everyone celebrates Halloween. There are many reasons why someone may not celebrate Halloween. This could be due to their beliefs, traditions, allergies, health, fears, culture or because they simply just don’t like Halloween. But, of course, some people do, because it is a time for your community to come together, have a good time and for children to enjoy themselves.
Gracie L, a student in Year 9, stated ‘I like the vibe surrounding Halloween, everyone’s having fun, younger children enjoy it and there is no worry.’
However, Halloween can produce some environmental concerns, such as plastic waste from sweet wrappers, decorations, and costumes. The charity The Fairyland Trust, which focuses on introducing children to, and educating them on, nature and the environment, along with the environmental organisation Hubbub, raise concerns over fancy-dress costumes. 83% of costumes are fully or partly-made of polyester, and the number of costumes thrown away each year is equal to 2,079 tonnes of plastic! Another issue is pumpkin waste. Hubbub found that 18,000 tonnes of pumpkins are thrown away each year! You could feed these to wildlife, compost them, or make pumpkin pie! If you still have pumpkins lying around, I encourage you to compost them or leave them out for wildlife to feed on.
By Daisy J - Year 9