Halloween is celebrated on October 31. Halloween is a short way of saying All Hallow´s Eve, the night before All Saint´s Day, November 1. Although Halloween gets its name from a Christian festival, its customs are of pagan origin: from a Celtic festival in honor of Samhain.
Every year the ancient Druids (Celtic priests and teachers) honored samhain, lord of death. Supposedly, demons of evil and death, spirits of the dead, ghosts and witches roamed the countryside on the last night of October, so the Druids built huge bonfires to scare them away. The Druids also dressed in ugly and frightening costumes so that the demons would think they were one of them and do them no harm.
From this festival, then, come the symbols of Halloween: ghosts, skeletons, devils, witches, and black cats. The jack o´lantern, a hollowed-out pumpkin carved in the appearance of a demoniac face and with a lighted candle inside, is also of Celtic origin. According to an Irish legend, jack-ó-lanterns were named after a man called Jack, who could not enter heaven because he was a miser. Jack couldn´t enter hell either for having played jokes on the devil. As a result, Jack had to walk the earth with his lantern until Judgment Day.
Nowadays Halloween is one of the favorite holidays of american children. At night, they put on ostumes and masks and go from house to house saying, "Trick or treat!" If the children don´t receive a "treat" of candy or cookies, they play a trick. Typical Halloween pranks are soaping windows, writing on doors with crayons, oveturning garbage cans, and sticking pins into doorbells to keep them ringing.