It may surprise you to hear this, but fall is the most popular season among people in the USA. There’s just something about those warm autumnal colors, the crisp crunch of leaves underfoot, and the shortening of the days that makes people feel fuzzy inside. Perhaps it’s down to a sense of nostalgia, as we remember all the enjoyable events that tend to take place at this time of year. Halloween is, of course, the main festival of the later months, especially here in Charlotte where there are some massive annual events. But in the lead-up to this popular night, let’s look at how other places prepare for it.
USA and Canada
The concept of Halloween began outside of North America in Christian areas of Europe, but it’s arguably the USA and Canada that turned it into the global holiday it is today. Canadians embrace the festivities in the same way we do here in Charlotte, with loads of fun activities like bobbing for apples, dressing in scary costumes, and knocking on people’s doors in search of candy.
However, the budding wealth of developers in the country have also come up with some great games that portray the holiday. Looking at some current Canadian online casino offerings, it’s clear that Halloween is one of the most popular themes in the slots genre, with visitors able to play casino games on mobile like Halloween Cashpots and Halloween Jack. Because the online casino industry is such a behemoth, it’s a fantastic indicator of what’s hot in mainstream culture as well as an additional, immersive way to get into the spirit of the spooky season!
The USA has probably done more for the spread of Halloween, though, thanks to the global reach of the Hollywood film industry. The Halloween franchise created by John Carpenter and Debra Hill was highly influential and started off the Slasher genre we know and love today – especially around this time of the year. There have been twelve offerings in the series to date, with David Gordon Green’s Halloween Ends set for release in 2022. A lot of horror films hit screens around this time of year as well, making it a huge occasion for film producers – almost as big as Valentine’s Day and Christmas.
Caption: Trailer for Halloween Kills.
Meanwhile, here in Charlotte, there are numerous exciting events going on for Halloween this year. The eclectic mix of things to do in the city highlights how diverse Halloween celebrations are. For instance, there is the farmers market at the University City, offering up a way to experience healthy autumnal foods. Along with the chance to try loads of gastronomical delights, there are live chef displays and music. Another way that Charlotte gets into the Halloween spirit is through special offers around the city. Some restaurants give out free food to people who dress up, with Krispy Kreme famously known to award doughnuts to costumed customers.
England and Ireland
The modern-day Halloween celebrations across the pond are fairly similar to those found in the USA, thanks to the shared mainstream culture between English-speaking countries. However, there are a few differences in the autumnal festivities that accompany the spooky event. Much of November over here is spent preparing for Thanksgiving. At the same time, the Brits are enjoying Guy Fawkes Night.
Guy Fawkes was a 17th Century revolutionary who was involved in a failed plot to blow up the House of Lords. This occurred on the 5th of November, and afterward, an annual event was held to remind the public what happens to people who try to tear down the establishment. It involves a huge bonfire, and the effigies of the iconic troublemaker are placed on top of the burning mass. It later became a fun event with fireworks and food, with Brits enjoying sweet treats like parkin and toffee apples.
As for Ireland, many people agree that the country is the birthplace of what is now known as Halloween. The event that occurs today could have drawn inspiration from the Gaelic festival of Samhain, which marked the end of the harvest season and may have had pagan roots. This is disputed, though, as some historians believe that Halloween began as a Christian holiday that was offered as an alternative.
One of the most iconic images found on Halloween is the classic jack-o’-lantern, which is a carved pumpkin made to look like a scary face. These are not only fun to make, but they act as impressive decorations when lit up on a dark porch. The tradition of creating these began in Ireland and was taken to the USA by Irish immigrants. They are based on a fable from the culture about Stingy Jack. This was a vagabond who made a pact with the devil and ended up doomed to roam the Earth. The spooky character had a hollowed-out turnip with lights inside that acted as a torch.
Caption: A video about how to make jack-o’-lanterns.
Latin America and Spain
Halloween hasn’t always existed in Latin America, but many people from the USA brought the tradition down to some of the countries below it including Argentina, Mexico, and Peru. In certain parts, the celebrations are the same as what would be found in places like Charlotte. In others, Halloween concepts are combined with Latin American ideas.
Most Latin American countries take part in various deviations of the Mexican Day of the Dead festival, referred to in Spanish as “el Día de los Muertos.” This is when people pay tribute to those who have passed. They do this by constructing shrines, dressing up in traditional costumes, and eating special food. There is usually music and dancing, and the events are joyous rather than mournful. This is because there is a firm belief in the afterlife in Latin culture, and people believe that their deceased relatives still exist in a place beyond the physical realm. Another popular twist on this is All Souls Day, which occurs on November 2 in Spain and the Philippines.
It’s clear that there are loads of ways to get into the Halloween spirit, and they differ slightly depending on where you are. Here in Charlotte, you’ll always be able to find a classic American version of the event, but some of the other unique celebrations mentioned are harder to find. Perhaps it’s time to bring a Guy Fawkes-themed event to the city, or maybe something for Day of the Dead.