Halloween

A:

In France, Halloween is celebrated by dressing up in costumes, going to parties and trick-or-treating. Pumpkins are carved into jack-o-lanterns, and traditional Halloween decorations are displayed in homes and businesses. Many pastry and candy makers make special seasonal treats.

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  • Which vegetable was originally used to carve jack-o-lanterns?

    Q: Which vegetable was originally used to carve jack-o-lanterns?

    A: The seasonal practice of carving a vegetable and putting a light inside originates in Ireland as part of Celtic tradition; because pumpkins do not occur naturally in this part of the world, the turnip was the vegetable that was originally used to carve jack-o-lanterns. Other root vegetables, including rutabagas, potatoes and beets, may also have been used to create these veggie lanterns, which used candles, burning coal or embers to create light and were intended as talismans to ward off evil spirits. Irish immigrants likely brought the practice to the United States, and exposure to the large, internally hollow and easily carved pumpkin started a new tradition of carving pumpkins instead of root vegetables.
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  • Why do people dress up for Halloween?

    Q: Why do people dress up for Halloween?

    A: The tradition of dressing up for Halloween most likely comes from the Medieval practices of "mumming" and "going a-souling," which historically took place on All Saints Day and All Souls Day. Mumming meant dressing up in costumes, singing, dancing, play-acting and making other general mischief. Souling meant going door to door offering prayers for the dead in exchange for treats. Current Halloween customs are an amalgamation of traditions from Celtic, various pagan and Roman traditions.
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  • How early can you carve a pumpkin?

    Q: How early can you carve a pumpkin?

    A: According to DowningPumpkins.com, pumpkins should only be carved within a day of use. However, bleach and vegetable oil can extend the life of a carved pumpkin.
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  • How long do uncarved pumpkins last?

    Q: How long do uncarved pumpkins last?

    A: An uncarved pumpkin stays fresh for two to three months when stored at outdoor temperatures around 50 degrees Fahrenheit. At room temperature, a pumpkin starts to go bad after about a month.
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  • Who started Halloween?

    Q: Who started Halloween?

    A: The Celtic people started Samhain, the festival that eventually became known as Halloween, in the early days of the first millennium A.D. The festival celebrated the dead, whom the Celtics believed could join the living on that day.
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  • When did Halloween become a national holiday?

    Q: When did Halloween become a national holiday?

    A: Halloween is not recognized as a federal or national holiday in the United States. However, the federal government does acknowledge it as a recognized American holiday.
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  • Why do we get candy on Halloween?

    Q: Why do we get candy on Halloween?

    A: Candy is traditionally given out on Halloween to children who dress up in costumes and go door-to-door asking for candy in a custom known as trick-or-treating. It is increasingly common for children to trick-or-treat in retail stores, or to receive candy at church or community carnivals.
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  • How far in advance can you carve a pumpkin?

    Q: How far in advance can you carve a pumpkin?

    A: A pumpkin remains fresh and holds its color and shape well for only one or two days, and it stays in satisfactory condition for up to one week. Certain steps help prolong the life of a carved pumpkin.
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  • How do you apply makeup to look like a vampire?

    Q: How do you apply makeup to look like a vampire?

    A: To look like a vampire, it is necessary to apply white makeup to the entire face, red and black makeup around the lips and mouth, black and red makeup around the eyes and gray makeup around the cheekbones. A vampire makeup kit that contains all of the required colors and makeup applicators to create an authentic vampire look can be purchased for $5 to $10.
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  • Why do people wear costumes on Halloween?

    Q: Why do people wear costumes on Halloween?

    A: Most experts believe that the tradition of wearing costumes on Halloween originated in ancient days with the Celtic festival of Samhain, where participants lit fires and wore costumes to scare away ghosts.
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  • Q: Who brought Halloween to America?

    A: The Irish brought Halloween to America. Halloween is an ancient Celtic tradition thought to date back as far as 700 B.C. in the northern rural territories of Ireland, England and Scotland.
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  • What are common times for trick-or-treating in Minnesota?

    Q: What are common times for trick-or-treating in Minnesota?

    A: While there are no official trick-or-treating times in Minnesota, the city of St. Paul recommends that children go out during daylight hours unless accompanied by a responsible adult. Older kids may go out any time after dusk, although a safe route should always be planned.
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  • Q: What are some good Disney costumes for adults?

    A: Good Disney costumes for adults include Maleficent from "Sleeping Beauty," Peter Pan's shadow and Cruella de Vil from "101 Dalmatians." Maleficent's costume requires black clothes and horns that can be made with wire, cardboard and leather remnants. Wire the collar of the black gown to stand up.
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  • How do you make painted pumpkins?

    Q: How do you make painted pumpkins?

    A: Clean your pumpkin, seal it with a multi-purpose sealer, paint and decorate as desired and seal with a matte finish spray paint. Display your pumpkin by itself or as part of a group display.
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  • Q: How is a haunted house made?

    A: Make a haunted house by adding spooky decorations such as spiderwebs and skulls to a dark house. Have actors hiding, ready to scare the guests.
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  • Why do we wear costumes on Halloween?

    Q: Why do we wear costumes on Halloween?

    A: The custom of wearing costumes on Halloween originated during an ancient Celtic holiday called Samhain (pronounced Sah-ween). During this day of the dead celebration, some people visited homes dressed up like fairies, ghosts, witches, skeletons and evil creatures, performing various antics in exchange for food and drink. Refreshments were offered as a means of placating the spirits.
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  • Q: What are some Halloween party games for kids?

    A: Some Halloween party games for kids include bobbing for apples, pin the nose on the pumpkin and Halloween bingo. For a team game, parents can divide kids into pairs and have one partner turn the other into a mummy with a roll of white crepe paper. At a party with small children, hosts can organize a Halloween matching game or have guests break a pumpkin-shaped pinata filled with candy.
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  • What day is famous for trick-or-treating?

    Q: What day is famous for trick-or-treating?

    A: Halloween is famous for a number of activities, including trick-or-treating in costume. Along with many contemporary Halloween traditions, trick-or-treating has roots in the ancient pagan festival of Samhain, which took place annually on Oct. 31 in what is now the United Kingdom.
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  • Q: Do malls typically participate in Halloween trick or treating?

    A: Many malls offer children the opportunity to trick or treat without the dangers of going door to door. Ways to find out if a local mall is participating in trick or treat is to search the local newspaper, check the mall's website or call the mall directly.
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  • Q: What are some good spooky Halloween words?

    A: Examples of spooky words for Halloween include "nyctophobia," "sepulchral," "berserk" and "thanatopsis." Other examples of spooky words are "perdition," "trepidation" and "lycanthrope." "Nyctophobia" is an extreme fear of darkness and is derived from the Greek words "nux" and "phobia" which mean "night" and "an aversion."
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  • How was Halloween invented?

    Q: How was Halloween invented?

    A: Halloween, or All Hallows' Eve, comes from the ancient Celtic festival called Samhain and was invented because the Pagans felt that October 31 was the one day out of the year that the boundary between the living and the dead overlapped. They believed the dead would come back to earth and cause illness or damaged crops. At that time, people participating in the Samhain festival would wear costumes and masks in an attempt to mimic evil spirits.
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