October 31st is Halloween, or All Hallows’ Eve, and is a day for keeping evil creatures at bay. November 1st is All Hallows Day (also known as All Saints’ Day) and the following day is All Souls’ Day. ” In European folklore [Halloween] was the day when the spirits of those who died during the preceding year returned to possess the bodies of the living – their only hope for an afterlife. Rather than submit to such an ordeal, the common people marched boisterously through their villages on the night of October 31st dressed in goulish garb, wailing to frighten away the insidious spirits”.* These days the custom is to wear scary costumes, and to go trick-or-treating in order to collect lollies (originally “soul cakes”) from the neighbours.
* From Halloween: Vintage holiday graphics edited by Jim Heinmann, 2005