Ghosts lingering in the eeriness of the misty streets. Blood-sucking vampires creeping up to your doorstep. Cackling witches hovering around on their broomsticks. But what entices so many of these horrid creatures to you door? Could it possibly be the multitude of lollipops, chocolate bars and gummies you have stashed up in your cupboards?

October the 31st is the renowned date of the spooky celebration. Many young children cherish this time of year as it is an opportunity for them to become creative. They greatly enjoy the experience of dressing up in garish, sparkly costumes and wearing all sorts of make-up to embody themselves in their creepy fantasy. It is also a great excuse for extra treats.

Halloween was originally an ancient Celtic festival of Samhain. This tradition originated from around 2000 years ago. The Celts would celebrate their new year on the 1st of November in the areas now known as Ireland, United Kingdom and Northern France. They believed this time signified the transition between the bountiful harvests to the dark, cold, dreary winter. Winter often led to increased deaths and crop failure and therefore people believed that at this times evil spirits and the ghosts of the deceased would return to Earth. Customarily, to commemorate the event, huge sacred bonfires were built for the burning of crops and animals as sacrifices. Additionally, the Celts would wear costumes made from animal skin and attempt to tell each other’s fortune. This was done to ward off the presence of evil spirits during winter.

However, in modern times, the rebranding of Halloween has slowly diminished the importance of its past spiritual connection, but now there is more focus on the commercial benefits. Products such as mugs, figurines, clothing and Halloween edition confectionery are all being marketed to fit the associations of Halloween. Places such as night clubs and fun fairs are exploiting the theme of Halloween to boost their businesses. Is this really showing respect to the traditional honouring of Halloween? Whilst there are ignorant attitudes, some modern conventions such as costumes, sweets and decorations shine a positive light onto Halloween. This allows kids to become involved and aware of Halloween. It is also a great way for families to bond with each other through trick-or-treating and for people to become more compassionate by offering treats. For example, last weekend I visited the Orchards Shopping Centre in Dartford, my local area, and was mesmerised by the extravagant decorations put up to celebrate Halloween. This decoration was a pleasing centre piece for the public to admire and I am sure it brought a smile to every visitor’s face.

As wondrous as magical, witches, transparent ghosts and shape-shifting vampires sound, we should not overlook the original meaning behind Halloween.