Halloween (or Hallowe'en) is an annual holiday observed on October 31, which commonly includes activities such as trick-or-treating, attending costume parties, carving jack-o'-lanterns, bonfires, apple bobbing, visiting haunted attractions, playing pranks, telling scary stories, and watching horror films.
Historian Nicholas Rogers, exploring the origins of Halloween, notes that while "some folklorists have detected its origins in the Roman feast of Pomona, the goddess of fruits and seeds, or in the festival of the dead called Parentalia, it is more typically linked to the Celtic festival of Samhain, whose original spelling was Samuin (pronounced sow-an or sow-in)".
The name is derived from Old Irish and means roughly "summer's end".Snap-Apple Night (1832) by Daniel Maclise.
Depicts apple bobbing and divination games at a Halloween party in Blarney, Ireland.The name 'Halloween' and many of its present-day traditions derive from the Old English era.
The word Halloween is first attested in the 16th century and represents a Scottish variant of the fuller All-Hallows-Even ("evening"), that is, the night before All Hallows Day.
Although the phrase All Hallows is found in Old English (ealra hālgena m?ssed?g, mass-day of all saints), All-Hallows-Even is itself not attested until 1556.
Ghosts and goblins are more than Halloween decorations or costumes for many Americans who confessed they believe in the supernatural and returning from the grave.
Thirty-seven percent of 2,100 adults questioned in a Zogby Interactive poll said they think ghosts are real, and 23 percent believe they have been visited by a deceased relative or friend.
Even the 22 percent who said they have not had any ghostly experiences themselves know someone who has.
"More than a third of Americans have this belief that ghosts do exist," said a spokesman for Zogby, adding that the findings were surprising.
Nearly half of those questioned said if they could be a ghost, they would choose to come back as themselves.
But belief in the supernatural is not required to enjoy Halloween. Eighty-seven percent of parents said their children would be dressing up for the holiday and 71 percent would be trick-or-treating.
But 41 percent of adults said they were not celebrating Halloween, including 12 percent who cited religious reasons.
Serial killers were deemed to be the scariest costumes, followed by the walking dead and zombies.