Halloween, or All Hallow’s Eve, is celebrated in America on October 31st. Its a big event which sees adults and children alike adorn elaborate costumes and partake in trick or treating. It has been estimated that the number of children age 5 to 14 who went trick or treating in 2014 was 41.2million.
Halloween originated in part as a celebration connected with evil spirits and the dead. Witches flying on broomsticks with black cats, ghosts, goblins, and skeletons have all evolved as symbols of Halloween and are popular trick-or-treat costumes, and decorations.
Pumpkins are also a symbol of Halloween, the carving of pumpkins into Jack O’Lanterns is a Halloween custom dating back to Ireland, where legend has it that a man named Jack who was so stingy that he was not allowed into heaven when he died. His spirit was doomed to wander around the countryside, holding a lantern to light his way. The Irish carved scary faces out of turnips representing “Jack of the Lantern”, or Jack-o’-lantern. When the Irish brought their customs to the U.S., they carved faces on pumpkins because in the autumn, pumpkins were more plentiful than turnips! Pumpkins are a very popular autumn vegetable.
In 2013 50,900 acres of pumpkins were harvested in the United States. Of the top six pumpkin-producing states, Illinois led the country by producing an estimated 547.6 million pounds of this vined gourd, followed by California, Ohio, Michigan, New York and then Pennsylvania.
There are many places in the United States which put you in a Halloween mood such as:
Sleepy Hollow, N.Y.
Kill Devil Hills, N.C
Transylvania County, N.C.
Slaughter Beach, Del
Truth or Consequences, N.M.
Find out more about American Halloween traditions in our PDF pamphlet produced by the U.S. Department of State.