The ideas, thoughts and imaginations related to the ghosts/spirits are as old as the ghosts themselves. The ghosts form a significant part in every culture and each part of world has its own traditions related to ghosts.
One such tradition prevalent is Halloween Day.
Halloween day, most commonly associated with weird costume parties, spooky nights and candies. It is widely celebrated in United States, Canada, England & Ireland. These days, it is celebrated in other countries also.
I was amazed at the way, houses were decorated here for Halloween Day. Atleast 2 weeks before the Halloween day, there were Jack-O-Lanterns in front of each house. There were ghosts made of balloons & life-size ghost toys put up everywhere. More amazing was the way people were waiting eagerly for the day.
Loads of mails was sent in the office to discuss the dress code for the day.After much debate and voting it was decided that everybody would come in ‘Cow Boy’ dress to office on Halloween day!
The office on Halloween day was looking straight from the old Cow Boy movie. Most of them were in big check shirts and denim with the trademark Cowboy hats.
A part of office was decorated as an old cow boy bar with posters of ‘Most Wanted Cow boys’ pasted all across. There was even a funny skit which was about the outlaws la Cowboys fighting against the sheriffs. The skit was about cow-boy programmers who don’t want to follow any ‘Process Change Management’ and about Sheriffs who want everything to be process oriented. The dialogues were so humorous.
Another group of people in office had dressed up as aliens with antennas, one more group had dressed up as nerds, some other group as Egyptian Pharaohs. It was a welcome change to see such vivid images in office!!
For Chocolate buffs, there were tons of plenty of chocolates everywhere in office.On each of our desks were placed peanuts & chocolates!!
Back in apartment in the evening, I saw people roaming around wearing those ghost masks and dressed up like ghosts. There is an old belief that on Halloween day, ghosts/spirits would be back on earth and would be roaming around to get into the human body. By wearing those ghost masks & dresses, probably that was a way to confuse the ghosts and misguide them that people in those dresses were also part of ghost community!
Jack-o-lantern, which is a carved pumpkin lit by a candle inside, was placed on each doorsteps. Scary face carved on the pumpkins was one more way of frightening ghosts!
One more Halloween related tradition is 'treat or trick'.Children would go to each neighborhood house, knocking the doors and shout ‘trick or treat’. The house occupants would give chocolates, candies or sweets. Candy Apple was the hugely popular item that was given to kids on Halloween day. It was such a nice tradition where children were ‘officially’ allowed to go and demand chocolates, candies or sweets from anyone.
But nothing is allowed to remain straight and simple!
I read somewhere that act of ‘trick or treat’ went for serious scrutiny after rumors that the some individuals were embedding things like razors and pins in the apples that were given to children. The paranoid followed and the hysteria reached such a stage that few hospitals on Halloween day offered to X-ray the candy apple collections. Few incidents where the candy apples were ‘drugged’ or ‘poisoned’ were also reported. So that act of ‘trick or treat’ never remained same. These days I heard children rarely go out & collect candies.
These days the most popular thing is the Halloween night party where there will be costume party with people in all sorts of dresses and which has all the spicy ingredients required for making a ‘spooky night’!
I believe like any other old tradition, Halloween day is no more only about ‘ghosts’.It has acquired new dimensions. More over it has given a chance to people, to be something they are not and to do things which they always wanted to do. Ask anyone who went to Halloween party, they will agree with me!