30 October, 2014
October 31st is Halloween. On that night, children around the United States will wear special clothing and make up their faces to look like frightening creatures. These little vampires, ghosts and witches will walk around their neighborhoods, knocking on doors and yelling "trick or treat." If the people in the homes do not give them a sweet treat, candy, the children may play a trick on them.
Many homes are also dressed up for Halloween. People hang toy spiders, skeletons and other scary decorations on trees and bushes. Pumpkins are also popular. People often empty the pumpkins and carve frightening faces on them. Then they place a candle inside so the pumpkin face glows in the night.
Halloween traditions developed from Celtic beliefs in ancient Britain. The Celts believed that spirits of the dead would return to their homes on October 31st, the day of the autumn feast. Celts would build huge fires to frighten away evil spirits released with the dead on that night.
People from Scotland and Ireland brought these ideas with them when they came to America. Some believed that spirits played tricks on people on the last night of October.
Today, Halloween is a favorite holiday among children. But Halloween is also big business. The National Retail Federation has reported predictions about Halloween spending for the last 11 years. It says, this year, it expects Halloween sales to total about $7.4 billion. The National Retail Federation says the average person will spend more than $77 on Halloween goods. And, the NRF says more Americans plan to take part in Halloween activities than last year. The group expects 162 million people to celebrate compared to 158 million people in 2013. It says 54 million of those people plan to hold Halloween parties.
Not all children, or adults, dress to scare on Halloween. Other popular costumes include super heroes and Disney characters. The NRF says this year characters from two children's movies will be especially popular. Can you guess the movies? Of course, "Frozen" and "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles."
Humans will not be the only costumed creatures Halloween night. The National Retail Federation says about 23 million people plan to dress up their animals. The top two popular pet costumes are pumpkins and hot dogs.
Happy Halloween! I'm Caty Weaver.
Words in this Story
vampire – n. a dead person who leaves the grave at night to bite and suck the blood of living people
ghost – n. the soul of a dead person thought of as living in an unseen world or as appearing to living people
witch – n. a woman who is thought to have magic powers
candy – n. a sweet food made with sugar or chocolate
costume – n. the clothes that are worn by someone (such as an actor) who is trying to look like a different person or thing
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