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Etymology The word appears as the title of Robert Burns ' " Halloween " , a poem traditionally recited by Scots The word Halloween or Hallowe'en dates to about  and is of Christian origin. Over time, All Hallow s E v en evolved into Hallowe'en. Today's Halloween customs are thought to have been influenced by folk customs and beliefs from the Celtic-speaking countries , some of which are believed to have pagan roots. For the Celts, the day ended and began at sunset; thus the festival began on the evening before 1 November by modern reckoning. The names have been used by historians to refer to Celtic Halloween customs up until the 19th century,  and are still the Gaelic and Welsh names for Halloween. Snap-Apple Night, painted by Daniel Maclise in , shows people feasting and playing divination games on Halloween in Ireland. After this the eating, drinking, and games would begin". They included apple bobbing , nut roasting, scrying or mirror-gazing, pouring molten lead or egg whites into water, dream interpretation , and others. Their flames, smoke and ashes were deemed to have protective and cleansing powers, and were also used for divination. Impersonating these beings, or wearing a disguise, was also believed to protect oneself from them. If the household donated food it could expect good fortune from the 'Muck Olla'; not doing so would bring misfortune. Marian McNeill suggests the ancient festival included people in costume representing the spirits, and that faces were marked or blackened with ashes taken from the sacred bonfire. However, in the Celtic-speaking regions they were "particularly appropriate to a night upon which supernatural beings were said to be abroad and could be imitated or warded off by human wanderers". Wearing costumes and playing pranks at Halloween spread to England in the 20th century. In the 20th century they spread to other parts of England and became generally known as jack-o'-lanterns. Commemorations of all saints and martyrs were held by several churches on various dates, mostly in springtime. This was the same date as Lemuria , an ancient Roman festival of the dead, and the same date as the commemoration of all saints in Edessa in the time of Ephrem. By the end of the 12th century they had become holy days of obligation across Europe and involved such traditions as ringing church bells for the souls in purgatory. In addition, "it was customary for criers dressed in black to parade the streets, ringing a bell of mournful sound and calling on all good Christians to remember the poor souls. In order to avoid being recognized by any soul that might be seeking such vengeance, people would don masks or costumes to disguise their identities". These were known as "soul lights". But, all the while, the danse macabre urged them not to forget the end of all earthly things. Thus, for some Nonconformist Protestants , the theology of All Hallows' Eve was redefined; without the doctrine of purgatory, "the returning souls cannot be journeying from Purgatory on their way to Heaven, as Catholics frequently believe and assert. Instead, the so-called ghosts are thought to be in actuality evil spirits. As such they are threatening. One held a bunch of burning straw on a pitchfork while the rest knelt around him in a circle, praying for the souls of relatives and friends until the flames went out. This was known as teen'lay. Huesos de Santo and put them on the graves of the churchyard , a practice that continues to this day. Lesley Bannatyne and Cindy Ott both write that Anglican colonists in the Southern United States and Catholic colonists in Maryland "recognized All Hallow's Eve in their church calendars",   although the Puritans of New England maintained strong opposition to the holiday, along with other traditional celebrations of the established Church, including Christmas. Candles that had been blessed were placed on graves, and families sometimes spent the entire night at the graveside". Development of artifacts and symbols associated with Halloween formed over time. Jack-o'-lanterns are traditionally carried by guisers on All Hallows' Eve in order to frighten evil spirits. A quick-thinking Jack etches the sign of the cross into the bark, thus trapping the Devil. Jack strikes a bargain that Satan can never claim his soul. After a life of sin , drink , and mendacity, Jack is refused entry to heaven when he dies. Keeping his promise, the Devil refuses to let Jack into hell and throws a live coal straight from the fires of hell at him. It was a cold night, so Jack places the coal in a hollowed out turnip to stop it from going out, since which time Jack and his lantern have been roaming looking for a place to rest. Homes are often decorated with these types of symbols around Halloween. Halloween imagery includes themes of death, evil , and mythical monsters. Trick-or-treating and guising Trick-or-treaters in Sweden Trick-or-treating is a customary celebration for children on Halloween. Children go in costume from house to house, asking for treats such as candy or sometimes money, with the question, "Trick or treat? All Halloween customs in the United States are borrowed directly or adapted from those of other countries". John Lutheran Church and Early Learning Center in Darien, Illinois The thousands of Halloween postcards produced between the turn of the 20th century and the s commonly show children but not trick-or-treating. Over time, in the United States, the costume selection extended to include popular characters from fiction, celebrities, and generic archetypes such as ninjas and princesses. The first mass-produced Halloween costumes appeared in stores in the s when trick-or-treating was becoming popular in the United States. Smith, in his book Halloween, Hallowed is Thy Name, offers a religious perspective to the wearing of costumes on All Hallows' Eve, suggesting that by dressing up as creatures "who at one time caused us to fear and tremble", people are able to poke fun at Satan "whose kingdom has been plundered by our Saviour". Images of skeletons and the dead are traditional decorations used as memento mori. Started as a local event in a Northeast Philadelphia neighborhood in and expanded nationally in , the program involves the distribution of small boxes by schools or in modern times, corporate sponsors like Hallmark , at their licensed stores to trick-or-treaters, in which they can solicit small-change donations from the houses they visit. In Canada, in , UNICEF decided to discontinue their Halloween collection boxes, citing safety and administrative concerns; after consultation with schools, they instead redesigned the program. There are several games traditionally associated with Halloween. Some of these games originated as divination rituals or ways of foretelling one's future, especially regarding death, marriage and children. During the Middle Ages , these rituals were done by a "rare few" in rural communities as they were considered to be "deadly serious" practices. In Celtic mythology , apples were strongly associated with the Otherworld and immortality, while hazelnuts were associated with divine wisdom. Some have become more widespread and continue to be popular today. One common game is apple bobbing or dunking which may be called "dooking" in Scotland  in which apples float in a tub or a large basin of water and the participants must use only their teeth to remove an apple from the basin. A variant of dunking involves kneeling on a chair, holding a fork between the teeth and trying to drive the fork into an apple. Another common game involves hanging up treacle or syrup-coated scones by strings; these must be eaten without using hands while they remain attached to the string, an activity that inevitably leads to a sticky face. Another once-popular game involves hanging a small wooden rod from the ceiling at head height, with a lit candle on one end and an apple hanging from the other. The rod is spun round and everyone takes turns to try to catch the apple with their teeth. An apple would be peeled in one long strip, then the peel tossed over the shoulder. The peel is believed to land in the shape of the first letter of the future spouse's name. If the nuts jump away from the heat, it is a bad sign, but if the nuts roast quietly it foretells a good match. This is said to result in a dream in which their future spouse offers them a drink to quench their thirst. The custom was widespread enough to be commemorated on greeting cards  from the late 19th century and early 20th century. In Ireland and Scotland, items would be hidden in food—usually a cake, barmbrack , cranachan , champ or colcannon —and portions of it served out at random. A person's future would be foretold by the item they happened to find; for example, a ring meant marriage and a coin meant wealth. When the fire died down, a ring of stones would be laid in the ashes, one for each person. In the morning, if any stone was mislaid it was said that the person it represented would not live out the year. Episodes of television series and Halloween-themed specials with the specials usually aimed at children are commonly aired on or before Halloween, while new horror films are often released before Halloween to take advantage of the holiday. Haunted attractions Main article: Haunted attraction simulated Haunted attractions are entertainment venues designed to thrill and scare patrons. Most attractions are seasonal Halloween businesses that may include haunted houses , corn mazes , and hayrides ,  and the level of sophistication of the effects has risen as the industry has grown. The first recorded purpose-built haunted attraction was the Orton and Spooner Ghost House, which opened in in Liphook , England. This attraction actually most closely resembles a carnival fun house, powered by steam. It was during the s, about the same time as trick-or-treating , that Halloween-themed haunted houses first began to appear in America. It was in the late s that haunted houses as a major attraction began to appear, focusing first on California. Home haunts began appearing across the country during and It was last produced in The March of Dimes copyrighted a "Mini haunted house for the March of Dimes" in and began fundraising through their local chapters by conducting haunted houses soon after. Although they apparently quit supporting this type of event nationally sometime in the s, some March of Dimes haunted houses have persisted until today. As a result of the fire, eight teenagers perished. The smaller venues, especially the nonprofit attractions, were unable to compete financially, and the better funded commercial enterprises filled the vacuum.
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