It must be that time of year again! The time when leaves start to fall, temperatures fall, and we encounter a little less rainfall. Yes, it absolutely must be fall, and as September begins to give way to October some families begin thinking about the fun events surrounding Halloween.
Accounts of the origin and evolving of Halloween vary, though most of the commentary centers around the “holiday” dating back some 2,000 years during a pre-Christian Celtic festival held around November 1st, called Samhain (“sah-win”). Samhain, meaning “end of summer,” was a communal meeting at the end of the harvest year to prepare for winter months. Another twist to the Samhain celebration, according to one account, was the belief that it was a day when spirits of the dead would cross over into the “other world,” creating the potential of communing with the spirit world. Masks and costumes were worn to either scare away the ghosts or to keep from being recognized by them. Still another account indicates that Halloween costumes may have originated with Celtic Druid ceremonial participants, who wore animal heads and skins to acquire the strength of a particular animal
In the eighth century, Pope Gregory III designated November 1 as a time to honor all saints and martyrs. The holiday, All Saints’ Day, incorporated some of the traditions of Samhain, and the evening before was known as All Hallows’ Eve and later Halloween. Though Halloween appears to have some of its’ roots in ceremonial practices and beliefs, over time, Halloween evolved into secular community-based events. Back then bonfires and burning jack-o-lanterns were plentiful and costumes and masks were mostly worn by adults. Today, children largely dress and participate in Halloween events, and special attention to their safety ensures a fun-filled evening. Here are some safety reminders:
- Cross the street at corners, using traffic signals and crosswalks.
- Look left, right and left again when crossing and keep looking as you cross.
- Always walk on sidewalks or paths. If there are no sidewalks, walk facing traffic as far to the left as possible and watch for cars that are turning or backing up. Don’t run into the street or cross the street between parked cars.
Trick or Treat with an Adult
- Children under the age of 12 should not be alone at night without adult supervision. If kids are mature enough to be out without supervision, they should stick to familiar areas that are well lit and trick-or-treat in groups.
- Select a costume that is the right size to prevent trips and falls. Closed in shoes like sneakers lend more support for walking.
- Choose bright costumes with reflective material or add reflective tape or stickers. Have kids carry glow sticks or flashlights.
- Use face paint and makeup whenever possible. If you choose a mask, ensure it fits securely and enables your child to slide the mask upward if need be.
Treats no Tricks
- Remind children to go only to well lighted homes and remain outside while collecting their treats.
- All treats should be brought home so that parents can check for sealed packaging and potential allergy issues.
- Destruction of property is not a trick, it’s illegal.
Drive with Children in Mind
- Slow down and don’t drive distracted. Children are excited on Halloween and may move in unpredictable ways.
- Drive slowly, anticipate heavy pedestrian traffic and turn your headlights on earlier in
the day to spot children from greater distances.
- Popular trick-or-treating hours are 5:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. so be especially alert for kids during those hours.