Traditions do change. On the night of Oct. 31, we still see ghosts, goblins and other ghastly apparitions wandering neighbourhoods, but all in the name of fun. Ask a lot of children and they’ll tell you Halloween is one of their favourite celebrations.
Costumes reportedly were out in full force centuries ago as well. An item in Today in History, compiled by The Canadian Press, notes the ancient connection to All Hallows Eve. One story in Celtic lore is based on the belief that disembodied spirits would pass through the veil in search of living bodies to possess.
To escape such a fate, people would douse the fire and lights at home and dress in ghoulish array, parading about and making a din to frighten away any visiting spirits.
Our modern-day version is, granted, a lot more light-hearted, but not without drawbacks.
Trick-or-treating isn’t hard on the teeth, but the next few days of snacking on candy certainly is. Add to that all those empty calories and the sugar rush.
Dentists, for instance, will advise parents that healthier snacks – alternatives to the old standby of candy – should be considered. Even if gooier goods make up the bulk of the treat bag, putting some away and monitoring what the kids eat is often advised.
But other traditions do thankfully arise. One of the new ones is trick-or-treaters accepting donations of non-perishable food items for the local food bank.
In fact, in Pictou County, the Rotary Interact Club at Northumberland Regional High School is organizing just such an effort – the We Scare Hunger Campaign. Participants will be wearing badges to let those answering the door know what they’re up to.
That sure as heck won't rot anybody's teeth.
Doubtless similar charitable efforts are undertaken in many areas. It’s a welcome twist, and great to see young people involved in helping the community.
A last word, to the costume crowd, motorists and others: as always, it’s a fun night, but one that calls for extra precautions to see that everyone stays safe.