Halloween In Canada & USA
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Halloween is largely celebrated in the same manner between the two countries of Canada and the United States.

In the United States, where lingering Puritan tradition restricted the observance of many holidays, Halloween did not become a holiday until the 19th century. American almanacs of the late 18th and early 19th centuries do not include Halloween in their lists of holidays. The transatlantic migration of nearly two million Irish following the Irish Potato Famine (1845–1849) finally brought the holiday to the United States. Scottish emigration, primarily to Canada before 1870 and to the United States thereafter, brought the Scottish version of the holiday to each country. At the time of substantial Irish and Scottish immigration to North America in the late 19th century, Halloween had a strong tradition of "guising" — children in Ireland and Scotland disguised in costumes going from door to door requesting food or coins. The earliest known reference to ritual begging on Halloween in English speaking North America occurs in 1911, when a newspaper in Kingston, Ontario reported that it was normal for the smaller children to go street "guising" on Halloween between 6 and 7 p.m., visiting shops and neighbors to be rewarded with nuts and candies for their rhymes and songs.

American historian and author Ruth Edna Kelley of Massachusetts, wrote the first book length history of the holiday in the US; The Book of Hallowe'en (1919), and references souling in the chapter Hallowe'en in America; "All Hallowe'en customs in the United States are borrowed directly or adapted from those of other countries. The taste in Hallowe'en festivities now is to study old traditions, and hold a Scotch party, using Burn's poem Hallowe'en as a guide; or to go a-souling as the English used. In short, no custom that was once honored at Hallowe'en is out of fashion now". The main event for children of modern Halloween in the United States and Canada is trick-or-treating, in which children disguise themselves in costumes and go door to door in their neighborhoods, ringing each doorbell and yelling "Trick or treat!" to solicit a gift of candy or similar items.

Irish-American and Scottish-American societies held dinners and balls that celebrated their heritages, with perhaps a recitation of Robert Burns' poem "Halloween" or a telling of Irish legends, much as Columbus Day celebrations were more about Italian-American heritage than Columbus per se. Home parties centred on children's activities, such as apple bobbing, and various divination games often concerning future romance. Not surprisingly, pranks and mischief were common as well.

At the turn of the 20th century, Halloween had turned into a night of vandalism, with destruction of property and cruelty to animals and people. Around 1912, the Boy Scouts, Boys Clubs, and other neighborhood organizations came together to encourage a safe celebration that would end the destruction that had become so common on this night. School posters during this time called for a "Sane Halloween." Children began to go door to door, receiving treats, rather than playing tricks on their neighbors. This helped to reduce the mischief, and by the 1930s, "beggar's nights" had become very popular. Trick-or-treating became widespread by the end of the 1930s.

Traditions
The commercialization of Halloween in the United States did not start until the 20th century, beginning perhaps with Halloween postcards (featuring hundreds of designs), which were most popular between 1905 and 1915. Dennison Manufacturing Company (which published its first Halloween catalog in 1909) and the Beistle Company were pioneers in commercially made Halloween decorations, particularly die-cut paper items. German manufacturers specialised in Halloween figurines that were exported to the United States in the period between the two World Wars.

Mass-produced Halloween costumes did not appear in stores until the 1930s, and trick-or-treating did not become a fixture of the holiday until the 1950s. In the 1990s, many manufacturers began producing a larger variety of Halloween yard decorations; before this, the majority of decorations were homemade. Some of the most popular yard decorations are jack-o'-lanterns, scarecrows, witches, orange string lights, inflatable decorations such as spiders, pumpkins, mummies and vampires, and animatronic window and door decorations. Other popular decorations are foam tombstones and gargoyles.

Halloween is now the United States' second most popular holiday (after Christmas) for decorating; the sale of candy and costumes is also extremely common during the holiday, which is marketed to children and adults alike. According to the National Retail Federation, the most popular Halloween costume themes for adults are, in order: witch, pirate, vampire, cat, and clown. Each year, popular costumes are dictated by various current events and pop culture icons. On many college campuses, Halloween is a major celebration, with the Friday and Saturday nearest October 31 hosting many costume parties.

The National Confectioners Association reported in 2005 that 80 percent of American adults planned to give out candy to trick-or-treaters, and that 93 percent of children planned to go trick-or-treating.

Madison, Wisconsin, home of the University of Wisconsin–Madison, hosts one of the more infamous annual Halloween celebrations. Due to the large influx of out-of-towners crowding the State Street area, riots have broken out in recent years, resulting in the use of mounted police and tear gas to disperse the crowds. Likewise, Chapel Hill, NC, site of the University of North Carolina, has a notorious downtown street party which in 2007 drew a crowd estimated at 80,000 on downtown Franklin Street, in a town with a population of just 54,000. In 2008, in an effort to curb the influx of out-of-towners, mayor Kevin Foy emplaced measures to make commuting downtown more difficult on Halloween.

Anoka, Minnesota, the self-proclaimed "Halloween Capital of the World", celebrates the holiday with a large civic parade and several other city-wide events. Salem, Massachusetts, also has laid claim to the "Halloween Capital" title, while trying to dissociate itself from its history of persecuting witchcraft. At the same time, however, the city does see a great deal of tourism surrounding the Salem witch trials, especially around Halloween. In the 1990s, the city added an official "Haunted Happenings" celebration to the October tourist season. Nearby Keene, New Hampshire, hosts the annual Pumpkin Fest each October which previously held the record for having the greatest number of lit jack-o'-lanterns at once. (Boston, Massachusetts holds the record as of October 2006). In Atlanta, Georgia, the Little Five Points neighborhood hosts the Little Five Points Halloween Parade on the weekend before October 31 each year.

Rutland, Vermont has hosted the annual Rutland Halloween Parade since 1960. Tom Fagan, a local comic book fan, is credited with having a hand in the parade's early development and superhero theme. In the early 1970s, the Rutland Halloween Parade achieved a degree of fame when it was used as the setting of a number of superhero comic books, including Batman #237, Justice League of America #103, Amazing Adventures #16 and The Mighty Thor #207.

New York City hosts the United States' largest Halloween celebration, known as The Village Halloween Parade. Started by Greenwich Village mask maker Ralph Lee in 1973, the evening parade now attracts over two million spectators and participants, as well as roughly four million television viewers annually. It is the largest participatory parade in the country if not the world, encouraging spectators to march in the parade as well. Barbara Ehrenreich, in her book on collective joy mentions this as an example of how Halloween is transitioning from a children's holiday to an adult holiday and compares it to Mardi Gras.

In Detroit, Michigan, the night before Halloween is referred to as Devil's Night, and for many years involved petty vandalism by children and teens, such as rubbing soap or wax on car windows or throwing eggs at houses. This activity perhaps started in the 1930s. In the 1970s, the minor vandalism gave way to serious acts of arson, and the city today mounts volunteer neighborhood patrols to prevent violence.

In many towns and cities, trick-or-treaters are welcomed by lit porch lights and jack-o'-lanterns. In some large and/or crime ridden areas, however, trick-or-treating is discouraged, or refocused to staged trick-or-treating events within nearby shopping malls, in order to prevent potential acts of violence against trick-or-treaters. Even where crime is not an issue, many American towns have designated specific hours for trick-or-treating, e.g., 5–7 pm or 5–8 pm, to discourage late-night trick-or-treating. After the September 11 terror attacks, trick-or-treating was discouraged in many areas. Some feared that terrorists would take the opportunity to attack trick-or-treaters, and others felt that celebrating Halloween so soon after the attacks seemed inappropriate. There were even fears of attacks on shopping malls after an anonymous email began circulating on the Internet that was allegedly written by a terrorist that alluded to planned attacks on shopping malls on October 31, 2001. This threat was revealed to be a hoax after an official FBI press release stating that the threat was deemed not credible.

Those living in the country may hold Halloween parties, often with bonfires, with the celebrants passing between them. The parties usually involve traditional games (like snipe hunting, bobbing for apples, or searching for candy in a similar manner to Easter egg hunting), haunted hayrides (often accompanied by scary stories, and costumed people hiding in the dark to jump out and scare the riders), and treats (usually a bag of candy and/or homemade treats). Scary movies may also be viewed. Normally, the children are picked up by their parents at predetermined times. However, it is not uncommon for such parties to include sleepovers.

Trick-or-treating may often end by early evening, but the nightlife thrives in many urban areas. Halloween costume parties provide an opportunity for adults to gather and socialize. Urban bars are frequented by people wearing Halloween masks and risqué costumes. Many bars and restaurants hold costume contests to attract customers to their establishments. Haunted houses are also popular in some areas.

In Western Canada, fireworks displays and a civic bonfire are part of the festivities. Fireworks are also held at Disneyland (as of 2009) and Walt Disney World's Magic Kingdom during an event at that park called Mickey's Not-So-Scary Halloween Party titled HalloWishes.
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See: Halloween around the world

Categories:
Halloween  Halloween Events  October Observances   •

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Resources: This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses some material from Wikipedia/article halloween /and other related pages. Top Photo: stock
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