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Like many festivals, Halloween has come together from a mix of origins, today it is widely regarded as a secular festival that exists for a bit of light hearted fun! The festival probably originated from the Celtic festival marking the end of summer and the arrival of the darker winter months. The association with spirits and ghosts arises because the Celts believed that the boundary between this world and the world of the dead became thinner at this time of year, allowing some spirits to escape back to the living world!
To combat the pagan festival, Pope Gregory III moved AllSaints Day from13th May to the 1st November, giving rise to the term Halloween - All Hallows Evening, the evening before All Hallows Day, or All Saints Day. All Souls Day is celebrated on 2nd November.
Whilst it is believed that the Celts carved turnips and other vegetables as part of their celebrations, pumpkin carving has different origins, arising in America prior to the arrival of Halloween. Pumpkins were carved in celebration of the harvest. 'Trick or Treating' also arose in America and in the 1950's, a UNICEF campaign grew out of a local initiative in Philadelphia, collecting money through trick or treating for children around the world. UNICEF's Trick or Treat campaign continues to this day, and has raised over $120m for UNICEF activities.
Today Halloween is a great source of inspiration for themed craft and activities for children, with it's associated colours of orange and black and symbolism of pumpkins, witches, ghouls and more. Don't scare your children with spooky tales, but seek inspiration and make fun decorations with your kids!