Halloween, from Life in the USA: The Complete Guide for Immigrants and Americans

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Life in the USA
American Community

halloween trick or treaters

Halloween “Trick or Treaters” go door to door asking for candy.

Halloween (always the evening of October 31) is not an official holiday, but it is widely celebrated, especially by children. On Halloween, children will dress up in costumes (often “scary” costumes such as ghosts and witches) and go from door to door begging for candy. This is called “trick-or-treating.” The children shout “trick-or-treat”, meaning that the adult will be the subject of a trick or prank if no candy is given. Halloween has become more dangerous in recent years because some “treats” have been found to contain razor blades or poison. Most careful parents accompany their children and only visit the houses of friends. Schools will have Halloween parties. Adults will also often have their own Halloween costume parties.

Many bars have best costume contests on Halloween. Cities such as New York and San Francisco have adult Halloween parades that have many unusual costumes worth seeing. A special Halloween children's custom is to carve a “Jack-O-Lantern” by making a face on a hollowed-out pumpkin, then placing a lit candle inside so the outline of the face glows in the night.

Be careful on Halloween. Teenagers particularly are known for pranks and tricks, which can range from throwing eggs from rooftops to wrapping toilet paper around parked cars. On a more serious note, teenagers throw rocks through windows or engage in gang violence in which people are killed by gunfire.

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