Halloween is a holiday observed 1 on the evening of October 31 in most areas of North America and in some areas of Western Europe. The word “Halloween” comes from “All Hallows' Eve.” November 1, “All Hallows' Day” (or “All Saints' Day”), is a Catholic (天主教的) festival observed in honour 2 of all saints. All Souls' Day, observed on November 2 to help purify 3 the spirits of the dead, is also closely linked to Halloween.
Most Halloween customs are based on folk beliefs concerning supernatural (超自然的`) forces and spirits of the dead. Halloween decorations (装饰) are typically images of supernatural beings such as witches, werewolves (狼人) , vampires, goblins (小妖怪) , and ghosts.
Images thought to symbolize bad omens 4 — such as black cats, bats, owls and spiders — are also commonly used as Halloween decorations. People once believed that ghosts roamed 5 the earth on Halloween.
They also thought that all witches met on October 31 to worship 6 the Devil. Today, most people do not believe in ghosts or witches, but these supernatural beings remain symbols of Halloween.
One of the traditions popular on the night of Halloween is trick-or-treat, the main Halloween activity for most children in the United States. Britain imported 7 the custom from America in the early 1980s. On Halloween many children wear ghost costumes 8 and masks or witches' hats and go from door to door to ask their neighbors for candy by saying “Trick or Treat!”
The saying implies that if the people in the house give the children a “treat” then the children will not play a trick on them. The neighbors, to avoid having tricks played on them, give the children such treats as candy, fruit, and pennies.
The most celebrated Halloween decoration is the jack-o'-lanterm (把南瓜挖空并雕成人面开形的杰克灯) , traditionally a pumpkin (南瓜) that has been hollowed out and carved 9 to resemble a grotesque (奇形怪状的) face.
Most jack-o'-lanterns contain a candle or some other light, which makes the face visible from far away. People in England and Ireland once carved out beets (甜菜根) , potatoes, and turnips (芜菁) to use as lanterns on Halloween. After this custom reached America pumpkins began to be used.
Dressing in costume is also one of the most popular Halloween customs, especially among children. Traditional costumes usually represent witches, ghosts, and other supernatural beings.
However, costumes inspired by contemporary (当代的) popular culture, such as politicians or movie characters, have become increasingly common in recent years. Adults often favor costumes with satirical 10 or humorous overtones (含蓄之意)。
Halloween originated as a celebration connected with evil spirits. Witches flying on broomsticks with black cats, ghosts, goblins(小精灵) and skeletons have all evolved as symbols of Halloween. They are popular trick-or-treat costumes and decorations for greeting cards and windows.
Black is one of the traditional Halloween colors, probably because Halloween festivals and traditions took place at night. In the weeks before October 31, Americans decorate windows of houses and schools with silhouettes(轮廓) of witches and black cats.
Pumpkins are also a symbol of Halloween. The pumpkin is an orange-colored squash, and orange has become the other traditional Halloween color. Carving pumpkins into jack- o'lanterns is a Halloween custom also dating back to Ireland.
A legend grew up about a man named Jack who was so stingy(吝啬的) that he was not allowed into heaven when he died, because he was a miser(吝啬鬼). He couldn't enter hell either because he had played jokes on the devil. As a result, Jack had to walk the earth with his lantern until Judgement Day(审判日).
The Irish people carved scary faces out of turnips(芜菁根), beets(甜菜根) or potatoes representing "Jack of the Lantern," or Jack-o'lantern. When the Irish brought their customs to the United States, they carved faces on pumpkins because in the autumn they were more plentiful than turnips.
Today jack-o'-lanterns in the windows of a house on Halloween night let costumed children know that there are goodies(糖果) waiting if they knock and say "Trick or Treat!"