Speak pipe


Najostrzejsze papryczki świata

Pochodzą z indyjskiej prowincji Assam. - Ich nazwa - Bhut Jolokia, tj. duch chili, mogła wziąć się stąd, że po ich zjedzeniu jesteś bliski wyzionięcia ducha - uważa dr Paul Bosland, dyrektor Instytutu Papryczek Chili na Uniwersytecie Stanu Nowy Meksyk w Las Cruses, który badał indyjski przysmak.
Bhut Jolokia zostały wpisane do "Księgi rekordów Guinessa", jako najostrzejsze z dotychczas znanych papryczek. W powtarzanych kilkakrotnie testach uzyskały bowiem 1 mln jednostek w skali ostrości Scoville'a, czyli niemal dwukrotnie więcej niż królująca do tej pory odmiana habanero Red Savinia (570,00. jednostek).

A Celebration of Tex Mex, Without Apology

WHEN I arrived in Texas in late 60,s to visit my girlfriend whom I met in Germany thru my brother Roman and his girlfriend Bonnie ,whom he later married , there were a great many things I knew nothing about. Among them were Tony Lama boots, espadrilles and Tex-Mex food.
I returned to the great state of Texas to in 2001 to get lost in my very own tamale triangle: San Antonio, Houston and Dallas. When I learned that the government of Mexico flew in the owners of 50 Mexican restaurants in the United States and Canada that summer to teach them what’s authentic and what’s not, the expedition picked up some gravity.

Among food snobs, the Mexican vs. Tex-Mex argument has been raging for decades. It is a wrongheaded debate, according to Robb Walsh, who wrote “The Tex-Mex Cookbook: A History in Photos and Recipes” (Broadway, 2004).

“Tex-Mex isn’t Mexican food,” said Mr. Walsh. “It is an American regional cuisine. So why do we have to apologize to Mexico for it?”

Mr. Walsh said the late food writer Waverley Root got it right when he described Tex-Mex as “native foreign food.”

“It is native, for it does not exist elsewhere; it was born on this soil,” Root wrote in “Eating in America: A History”(William Morrow & Co., 1976), with Richard de Rochemont. “But it is foreign in that its inspiration came from an alien cuisine.”

After the book was published, of course, Tex-Mex moved into the mainstream, and that was where the trouble started. Between microwaved burritos in convenience stores and nacho platters served with two-for-one margaritas in casual chains across the land, Tex-Mex got itself a bad reputation.

The history of Tex-Mex begins with the “chili queens” of San Antonio, who in the late 1800s transformed the plazas of the city into destinations for everyone from soldiers to tourists in silk hats to Mexican bootblacks, all seeking generous portions of chili and beans, with a tortilla on the side — for a dime.

It is hard to pin down experts and restaurateurs as to what happened to Mexican food when it crossed the border. The best explanation is perhaps the most inelegant: it got cheesier, chili-er and meatier.

“Cal-Mex is long on burritos and sour cream,” Mr. Walsh said. “In New Mexico, it’s all about green chilies, and in Arizona they are proud to have invented chimichangas — deep-fried
burritos. The embodiment of Tex-Mex is a cheese enchilada with gravy.”

While superior Tex-Mex food may be specific to Texas, it is hardly restricted to one region or city. I learned that there is no such thing as a best Tex-Mex restaurant in any given city. Instead, there are favorites recommended by locals. This is because the restaurants are family run, and the true Tex-Mex aficionado is usually a good neighbor who supports more than one family.

San Antonio is arguably the cuisine’s Paris, the place where dozens of top-notch restaurants have built on the foundation of the chili queens, but have not been afraid of injecting their own artistry. No place embodies this better than El Mirador, which since 1967 has been owned and operated by the Trevino family.

Each morning Maria Trevino, 97, is in the kitchen as the fresh fruits and vegetables are delivered to the restaurant, an ivy-covered stucco building at the edge of downtown. Her handwritten recipes, kept in a large book, have been handed down for generations in her family in Guanajuato, Mexico, or the family of her late husband Julian, who was from Salinas Victoria.

Doña Mari, as she is known to the patrons she’s been serving for nearly four decades, watches over the preparations of all of El Mirador’s sauces. None is made more painstakingly than the mole, which is prepared only once a week. It takes a whole day to get the right blend of ground chili peppers and nuts — among them almonds and pecans — to go with the cacao, sugar and cinnamon.

You can taste that effort when the mole is presented over a plate of enchiladas. It gives the cheese a sweet, chocolate flavor and teases the smokiness out of the beef and chicken.

The Trevinos regard the Tex-Mex label as a slur, something more appropriate for the food served at Taco Bell. They also shrug off the notion that their life’s work sometimes is treated like the Rodney Dangerfield of cuisines.

On Saturday afternoons, they get their due respect when, just like in the days of the chili queens, a cross section of San Antonio waits in line for El Mirador’s famous soups, which hew closely to the traditional soups across the border. Within hours, three days of work disappears. By itself, the sopa Azteca — a spicy tomato broth filled with chicken, spinach, avocado, peppers, potatoes, cheese and tortilla strips — requires seven chickens and 12 pounds of tomatoes.

“If we were in France and someone came and watched what went on in our kitchen and then tasted our food, we would be considered a highfalutin restaurant,” said Diana Trevino, who with her husband, Julian, Maria’s son, now operates El Mirador.

So what is the essence of Tex-Mex? I drove 200 miles east on Interstate 10 to Houston to try to answer that question.

San Antonio lays a legitimate claim to high-end Tex-Mex (if there is such a thing) and Dallas leans Anglo with its fajitas and frozen margaritas. But in Houston, Texas’s largest city, the cuisine is part of the fabric of everyday life. Perhaps that is because more than 37 percent of Houston’s residents are Hispanic, according to United States census figures from 2000.

“I discover a new Tex-Mex gem every week,” said Mr. Walsh, who is the restaurant critic for the Houston Press.

Neon signs flicker above pastel storefronts promising excellent Mexican food in virtually every block of the city. The trick is to figure out which places will deliver on that promise.

Here are a few guidelines: 1. It has to be family-owned. 2. A ramshackle space with added-on rooms is a positive. The most successful Tex-Mex restaurants started small and expanded due to popular demand. 3. It’s best if the patrons in the dining room look like the face of democracy. You want a mix of gringos and Hispanic customers; professionals and laborers.

Joe Gonzalez who, with his wife, Alma, opened El Jardin in 1975, offers a fourth tip: take careful measure of the chips and salsa.

“It’s the first thing that hits the table,” Mr. Gonzalez said. “Are the chips and salsa homemade, or does it taste like they’re from a bag and a jar? Right there you know if you’re in for the real thing, or they’re trying to save money.”

El Jardin’s chips are warm, crisp and greaseless. Its salsa is fresh and chunky and does not slide off the chip. The dining room has walls painted in pale blues and yellows. El Jardin has expanded over the years, adding more straight-back straw-seated chairs; it now seats 80.

Lawyers in shirt sleeves, who make the 10-minute drive from downtown, and engineers from the nearby construction giant KBR eat side by side with dusty construction workers. The Coronas are ice cold, the ambient chatter bilingual.

Steaming combination platters of beef tacos and guacamole-topped chicken flautas cover the tables. For $5.55, the No. 16 was paralyzing — three pork tamales steamed in cornhusks dripped with gravy and cheese.

It is easy to feel like a Texan after three days of tacos, tamales, chiles rellenos and enchiladas, especially when Willie Nelson and Toby Keith are on the radio belting out a red-blooded anthem with the righteous chorus of “Whiskey for my men/beer for my horses.”

“She was from right here in Dallas,” said Nora, 52. “We’re Mexican-Americans. It was her recipes, and it is our own style of cooking.”

Neither the government of Mexico nor the high priests of that country’s cuisine are going to get an apology from me. In the Lone Star state, Tex-Mex is as authentic as any food can be.


Halloween my favored holiday



A jack-o'-lantern

Also called All Hallows Eve

All Saints' Eve


Observed by many Christian nations, including England, United States, Ireland, Scotland, Wales, Canada, sometimes Australia and New Zealand and many Latin American countries where it is known as Noche de las Brujas (Night of the Witches)[1]

Type Religious, Cultural (celebrated mostly irrespective of religion)

Significance There are many sources of Halloween's significance

Date October 31

Celebrations Trick-or-treating, Bobbing for apples, Costume parties, Carving jack-o'-lanterns, Bonfires and Fireworks (in Ireland)

Halloween, or Hallowe'en, is a holiday celebrated on the night of October 31. Traditional activities include trick-or-treating, Halloween festivals, bonfires, costume parties, visiting "haunted houses" and viewing horror films. Halloween originated from the Pagan festival Samhain, celebrated among the Celts of Ireland and Great Britain. Irish and Scottish immigrants carried versions of the tradition to North America in the nineteenth century. Other western countries embraced the holiday in the late twentieth century. Halloween is now celebrated in several parts of the western world, most commonly in Ireland, the United States, Canada, Puerto Rico, and the United Kingdom.


The Festival of Halloween is a celebration of the end of the fertile period of the Celtic Goddess Eiseria. It is said that when Eiseria reaches the end of her fertile cycle the worlds of the dead and the living interlap. This happens on October 31. Masks are worn to show respect for the Goddess Eiseria who, like most Celtic deities, does not wish to be seen with human eyes. The day also preceeds All saints day, which was at first the celebration of the start of a new cycle of fertility for the celtic Goddess Eiseria. Couples incapable of producing children thus tried their luck on All saints day.


Halloween is very popular in Ireland, where it is believed to have originated, and is known in Irish as Oíche Shamhna, literally "Samhain Night". Pre-Christian Celts had an autumn festival, Samhain, "End of Summer", a pastoral and agricultural "fire festival" or feast, when the dead revisited the mortal world, and large communal bonfires would hence be lit to ward off evil spirits.

Pope Gregory IV standardized the date of All Saints' Day, or All Hallows' Day, on November 1 in the name of the entire Western Church in 835. As it now began at sunset, the holiday coincided exactly with Samhain. It is claimed that the choice of date seems consistent with the common practice of leaving pagan festivals and buildings intact (e.g., the Pantheon), while overlaying a Christian meaning. However, there is no actual documentation of any reliability, whatsoever, backing up the presumption. While the Celts might have been content to move All Saints' Day from their own previous date of April 20, the rest of the world celebrating it on May 13, it is speculated without evidence that they were unwilling to give up their pre-existing autumn festival of the dead and continued to celebrate Samhain.

Unfortunately, there is frustratingly little primary documentation of how Halloween was celebrated in preindustrial Ireland. Historian Nicholas Rogers has written,

It is not always easy to track the development of Halloween in Ireland and Scotland from the mid-seventeenth century, largely because one has to trace ritual practices from [modern] folkloric evidence that do not necessarily reflect how the holiday might have changed; these rituals may not be "authentic" or "timeless" examples of pre-industrial times.

On Halloween night in present-day Ireland, adults and children dress up as creatures from the underworld (e.g., ghosts, ghouls, zombies, witches and goblins), light bonfires, and enjoy spectacular fireworks displays, despite the fact that such displays are usually illegal. It is also common for fireworks to be set off for the entire month preceeding Halloween, as well as a few days after. Halloween was perceived as the night during which the division between the world of the living and the otherworld was blurred so spirits of the dead and inhabitants from the underworld were able to walk free on the earth. It was believed necessary to dress as a spirit or otherworldly creature when venturing outdoors to blend in, and this is where dressing in such a manner for Halloween comes from. This gradually evolved into trick-or-treating because children would knock on their neighbours' doors, in order to gather fruit, nuts, and sweets for the Halloween festival. Salt was once sprinkled in the hair of the children to protect against evil spirits.

The houses are frequently adorned with pumpkins or turnips carved into scary faces; lights or candles are sometimes placed inside the carvings to provide an eerie effect. The traditional Halloween cake in Ireland is the barmbrack, which is a fruit bread. Barmbrack is the centre of an Irish Halloween custom. The Halloween Brack traditionally contained various objects baked into the bread and was used as a sort of fortune-telling game. In the barmbrack were: a pea, a stick, a piece of cloth, a small coin (originally a silver sixpence) and a ring. Each item, when received in the slice, was supposed to carry a meaning to the person concerned: the pea, the person would not marry that year; the stick, "to beat one's wife with", would have an unhappy marriage or continually be in disputes; the cloth or rag, would have bad luck or be poor; the coin, would enjoy good fortune or be rich; and the ring, would be married within the year. Commercially produced barmbracks for the Halloween market still include a toy ring.

Games are often played, such as bobbing for apples, where apples, peanuts and other nuts and fruit and some small coins are placed in a basin of water. The apples and nuts float, but the coins, which sink, are harder to catch. Everyone takes turns catching as many items possible using only their mouths. In some households, the coins are embedded in the fruit for the children to "earn" as they catch each apple. The Scottish and English have adapted the tradition to a game named "ducking", in which a participant quickly dunks in a water-filled container in an attempt to get a prize, without being submerged too long. Another common game involves the hands-free eating of an apple hung on a string attached to the ceiling. Games of divination are also played at Halloween, but are becoming less popular.

At lunch-time (midday meal, known as "dinner" in Ireland), a traditional Halloween meal Colcannon is eaten, often with coins wrapped in grease-proof paper mixed in. In recent decades the practice of midday dinners in the home has declined and with it this traditional Halloween ritual. Irish children have a week-long Halloween break from school; the last Monday in October is a public holiday given for Halloween even though they often do not fall on the same day.


Scotland, having a shared Gaelic culture and language with Ireland, has celebrated the festival of Samhain robustly for centuries. Robert Burns portrayed the varied customs in his poem "Hallowe'en" (1785).

Halloween, known in Scottish Gaelic as "Oidhche Shamhna", consists chiefly of children going door to door "guising", i.e., dressed in a disguise (often as a witch or ghost) and offering entertainment of various sorts. If the entertainment is enjoyed, the children are rewarded with gifts of sweets, fruits or money. There is no Scottish 'trick or treat' tradition; on the contrary, 'trick or treat' may have its origins in the guising customs.

In Scotland a lot of folklore, including that of Halloween, revolves around the belief in faeries. Children dress up in costumes and carry around a "Neepy Candle," a devil face carved into a hollowed out Neep, lit from inside, to frighten away the evil faeries.

Popular children's games played on the holiday include "dooking" for apples (i.e., retrieving an apple from a bucket of water using only one's mouth). In places, the game has been replaced (because of fears of contracting saliva-borne illnesses in the water) by standing over the bowl holding a fork in one's mouth, and releasing it in an attempt to skewer an apple using only gravity. Another popular game is attempting to eat, while blindfolded, a treacle-coated scone on a piece of string hanging from the ceiling.

In 2007, Halloween festival organisers in Perthshire said they wanted to move away from US-style celebrations, in favor of more culturally accurate traditions. Plans include abandoning the use of pumpkins, and reinstating traditional activities such as a turnip lantern competition and "dooking (ducking) for apples".

Isle of Man

The Manx traditionally celebrate Hop-tu-Naa on October 31. This ancient Celtic tradition has parallels with Scottish and Irish traditions.

England and Wales

All Saints' Day (All Hallows Day) became fixed on November 1, 835, and All Souls' Day on November 2, circa 998. On All Souls' Eve, families stayed up late, and little "soul cakes" were eaten by everyone. At the stroke of midnight there was solemn silence among households, which had candles burning in every room to guide the souls back to visit their earthly homes, and a glass of wine on the table to refresh them. The tradition continued in areas of northern England as late as the 1930s, with children going from door-to-door "souling" (i.e., singing songs) for cakes or money. The English Reformation in the 16th century de-emphasised holidays like All Hallows Day and its associated eve. With the rise of Guy Fawkes Night celebrations in 17th century England, many Halloween practices, especially the building of bonfires, were moved to November 5.

Halloween celebrations in the UK were repopularised in the 1980s with influence from America, and saw the reintroduction of traditions such as pumpkin carvings and trick-or-treat. [citation needed] Between 2001 and 2006, consumer spending in the UK for Halloween rose tenfold from £12m to £120m, according to Bryan Roberts from industry analysts Planet Retail, making Halloween the third most profitable holiday for supermarkets. Nowadays, adults often dress up to attend costume parties, pub parties and club parties on Halloween night.

In parts of England, there is a similar festival called holy day which falls on the November 4. During the celebration, children play a range of "tricks" (ranging from minor to more serious) on adults. One of the more serious "tricks" might include the unhinging of garden gates (which were often thrown into ponds, or moved far away). In recent years, such acts have occasionally escalated to extreme vandalism, sometimes involving street fires.

Throughout England (and much of the British Isles), children carve faces or designs into hollowed-out pumpkins. Usually illuminated from within, the lanterns are displayed in windows in keeping with the night's theme of fright and horror. (See article Jack-o'-lantern.) Before the introduction of pumpkin carving from the United States, it was common to carve large swedes (a.k.a. neeps or yellow turnips), which is still done in some areas.

Bobbing for apples is a well-established Halloween custom, synonymous with the Scottish "dukin". In the game, apples were placed in a water-filled barrel, and a participant would attempt to catch an apple with one's mouth only. Once an apple was caught, it would be peeled and tossed over the shoulder in the hope that the strips would fall into the shape of a letter, which would supposedly be the first initial of the participant's true love. According to another superstition, the longer the peel, the longer the peeler's life would be; some say that the first participant to get an apple would be the first to marry.

Other Halloween festivities include fireworks, telling ghost stories, and playing children's games such as hide-and-seek. Apple tarts might be baked with a coin hidden inside, and nuts of all types are traditional Halloween fare. Bolder children may play a game called "thunder and lightning", which involves loudly knocking on a neighbor's door, then running away (like lightning). This game is known as "knock-door-run", "knock-and-run", "knock-knock-zoom-zoom", "ding-dong-ditch", or "postman's knock" in parts of the country, and is also played on Mischief Night[citation needed] Tradition has been changing, as the majority of today's children will arrive at a door and intone "trick-or-treat" in order to receive money and sweets.

There has been increasing concern about the potential for antisocial behavior, particularly among older teens, on Halloween. Cases of houses being "egg-bombed" (especially when the occupants do not give money or gifts) have been reported, and the BBC reports that for Halloween 2006 police forces have stepped up patrols to respond to such mischief.

United States and Canada

Halloween did not become a holiday in the United States until the 19th century, where lingering Puritan tradition restricted the observance of many holidays. 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 from the British Isles, primarily to Canada before 1870 and to the United States thereafter, brought the Scottish version of the holiday to each country.

Scottish-American and Irish-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 would center around children's activities, such as bobbing for apples, and various divination games often concerning future romance. Not surprisingly, pranks and mischief were common as well.

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 Hallowe'en 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.

There is little primary documentation of masking or costuming on Halloween in the United States or elsewhere, prior to 1900.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 United States, Halloween has become the sixth most profitable holiday (after Christmas, Mother's Day, Valentines Day, Easter, and Father's Day).In the 1990s, many manufacturers began producing a larger variety of Halloween yard decorations; prior to this a majority of decorations were homemade. Some of the most popular yard decorations are jack-o'-lanterns, scarecrows, witches, orange and purple 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 are 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.On many college campuses, Halloween is a major celebration, with the Friday and Saturday nearest October 31 hosting many costume parties.

Universal's Halloween Horror Nights is one of the largest and most elaborate Halloween events in the world. The month-long event takes place at Universal Studios theme parks in Florida and Hollywood.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.

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).

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.

In many towns and cities, trick-or-treaters are welcomed by lit porch lights and jack-o'-lanterns. In some large and/or crimeridden 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.

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 Mexico, Halloween has been celebrated during the last 40 years where the celebrations have been influenced by the American traditions, such as the costuming of children who visit the houses of their neighbourhood in search of candy. Though the "trick-or-treat" motif is used, tricks are not generally played on residents not providing candy. Older crowds of preteens, teenagers and adults will sometimes organize Halloween-themed parties, which might be scheduled on the nearest available weekend.

Halloween in Mexico begins three days of consecutive holidays, as it is followed by All Saints' Day, which also marks the beginning of the two day celebration of the Day of the Dead or the Día de los Muertos. This might account for the initial explanations of the holiday having a traditional Mexican-Catholic slant.

Australia and New Zealand

In the southern hemisphere, spring is in full swing by October 31, and the days are rapidly growing longer and brighter. This does not mesh well with the traditional Celtic spirit of Halloween, which relies on an atmosphere of the encroaching darkness of winter.

However, Halloween has recently gained a large amount of recognition in Australia and to an extent New Zealand, largely due to American media influences. In 2006, costume shops reported a rise in sales on Halloween-themed costumes,on October 31, 2006. On Halloween night, horror films and horror-themed TV episodes are traditionally aired


Halloween is largely uncelebrated in the Caribbean. However, like Australia and New Zealand, the event is not unheard of in the Caribbean and is seeing some increase in popularity.

In some parts of the British West Indies, there are celebrations commemorating Guy Fawkes Night that occur around the time of Halloween. The celebrations include using firecrackers, blowing bamboo joints and similar activities.

On the island of Bonaire, the children of a town typically gather to trick-or-treat for sweets among the town shops (instead of people's homes, as in other countries).


Halloween had never been celebrated in Malta until recently, with its popularity increasing thanks to the many costume parties, usually for teenagers and young adults, being organized on Halloween night. Trick-or-treating is not widely known in Malta.[citations needed]

People's Republic of China

There is no Halloween in Chinese tradition, but there is a similar Chinese holiday called Ghost Festival. The Ghost Festival is a traditional Chinese festival and holiday, which is celebrated by Chinese people in many countries. In the Chinese calendar (a lunisolar calendar), the Ghost Festival is on the 14th night of the seventh lunar month, which is called Ghost Day. In Chinese tradition, the ghosts and spirits, including those of the deceased ancestors, come out from the lower world.

Hong Kong, a former British colony, does celebrate Halloween every year unlike the Mainland.

Other regions

In other regions such as Japan and Germany, Halloween has become popular in the context of American pop culture. Some Catholics do not appreciate the resultant de-emphasis of the more spiritual aspects of All Hallows Eve and Reformation Day, respectively, or of regional festivals occurring around the same time (such as St Martin's Day). Business has a natural tendency to capitalize on the holiday season's more commercial aspects, such as the sale of decorations and costumes.


Jack-o'-lanterns are often carved into silly or scary faces.

The carved pumpkin, lit by a candle inside, is one of Halloween's most prominent symbols. This is an Irish tradition of carving a lantern which goes back centuries. These lanterns are usually carved from a turnip or swede (or more uncommonly a mangelwurzel). The carving of pumpkins was first associated with Halloween in North America,where the pumpkin was available, and much larger and easier to carve. Many families that celebrate Halloween carve a pumpkin into a frightening or comical face and place it on their home's doorstep after dark.

The jack-o'-lantern can be traced back to the Irish legend of Stingy Jack, a greedy, gambling, hard drinking old farmer who tricked the devil into climbing a tree, and trapped him by carving a cross into the trunk of the tree. In revenge, the devil placed a curse on Jack which dooms him to forever wander the earth at night. For centuries, the bedtime parable was told by Irish parents to their children. But in America the tradition of carving pumpkins is known to have preceded the Great Famine period of Irish immigration,and the tradition of carving vegetable lanterns may also have been brought over by the Scottish or English; documentation is unavailable to establish when or by whom. The carved pumpkin was associated generally with harvest time in America, and did not become specifically associated with Halloween until the mid to late 19th century.

The imagery surrounding Halloween is largely an amalgamation of the Halloween season itself, nearly a century of work from American filmmakers and graphic artists, and a rather commercialized take on the dark and mysterious. Halloween imagery tends to involve death, magic, or mythical monsters. Common Halloween characters include ghosts, ghouls, witches, vampires, bats, owls, crows, vultures, haunted houses, pumpkinmen, black cats, aliens, spiders, goblins, zombies, mummies, skeletons, and demons. Particularly in America, symbolism is inspired by classic horror films, which contain fictional figures like Dracula, Frankenstein's monster, and The Mummy. More modern horror antagonists like Freddy Krueger, Michael Myers, Leatherface, Jason Voorhees, and the Jigsaw Killer have also become associated with the holiday. Homes are often decorated with these symbols around Halloween.

Black and orange are the traditional colors of Halloween.

Color associations Color Symbolism

Black death, night, witches, black cats, bats, vampires

Orange pumpkins, jack o' lanterns, Autumn, the turning leaves, fire

Elements of the autumn season, such as pumpkins and scarecrows, are also reflected in symbols of Halloween.

Trick-or-treating and guising

United States and Canada

A "trick-or-treater"

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. Although the practice resembles the older traditions of guising in Ireland and Scotland, ritual begging on Halloween does not appear in English-speaking North America until the 20th century, and may have developed independently. Upon receiving trick-or-treaters, the house occupants (who might also be in costume) often hand out small candies, miniature chocolate bars, nuts, loose change, soda pop, stickers, or even crayons and pencils. Some homes will use sound effects and fog machines to help establish an eerie atmosphere. Other less scary house decoration themes might be used to entertain younger visitors. Children can often accumulate many treats on Halloween night, filling up entire pillow cases, pumpkin-shaped buckets, shopping bags or large plastic containers.


In places of Ireland, huge bonfires are lit. Young children in disguise are gladly received by the neighbors with "fruit, miniature chocolate bars, loose change, peanuts and of course sweets" for the "Halloween Party", whilst older male siblings play innocent pranks on their bewildered victims. Some homes will put up decorations including Halloween lights. Since schoolchildren have the week off for Halloween, it is common for teenagers and college students to spend weeknights out with friends pranking and causing mischief, if not trick-or-treating themselves.

United Kingdom

In Scotland, children or guisers are more likely to recite "The sky is blue, the grass is green, may we have our Halloween" instead of "trick or treat!" Walking in groups, the children visit neighbors and must impress them with a song, poem, trick, joke or dance in order to earn treats. Traditionally, nuts, oranges, apples and dried fruit were offered, though children might earn a small amount of cash, usually a sixpence.

In England, trick-or-treating does occur, particularly in working class neighborhoods[citation needed]. In general, however, the practice is regarded as a nuisance at best and a menacing form of begging at worst.In some areas, households have started to put decorations on the front door to indicate that 'trick-or-treaters' are welcome, the idea being that 'trick-or-treaters' avoid a house not 'participating' in the custom. Tricks currently play a less prominent role, though Halloween night is often marked by vandalism such as soaping windows, egging houses or stringing toilet paper through trees. Before indoor plumbing was ubiquitous, tipping over or displacing outhouses was a popular form of vandalism. Casting flour into the faces of feared neighbors was also common practice at one time.[citation needed]


Halloween costumes are traditionally those of monsters such as vampires, ghosts, skeletons, witches, and devils. Costumes are also based on themes other than traditional horror, such as those of characters from television shows or movies.

Costume sales

BIGresearch conducted a survey for the National Retail Federation in the United States and found that 53.3% of consumers planned to buy a costume for Halloween 2005, spending $38.11 on average (up 10 dollars from the year before). They were also expected to spend $4.96 billion in 2006, up significantly from just $3.29 billion the previous year.[22]


"'Trick-or-Treat for UNICEF" has become a common sight during Halloween in North America. Started as a local event in a Philadelphia suburb in 1950, and expanded nationally in 1952, the program involves the distribution of small boxes by schools to trick-or-treaters, in which they can solicit small change donations from the houses they visit. It is estimated that children have collected more than $119 million (US) for UNICEF since its inception. In 2006, UNICEF discontinued their Halloween collection boxes in parts of the world, citing safety and administrative concerns.

Games and other activities

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In this Halloween greeting card from 1904, divination is depicted: the young woman looking into a mirror in a darkened room hopes to catch a glimpse of the face of her future husband.

In this Halloween greeting card from 1904, divination is depicted: the young woman looking into a mirror in a darkened room hopes to catch a glimpse of the face of her future husband.

There are several games traditionally associated with Halloween parties. The most common is dooking or bobbing for apples, in which apples float in a tub or a large basin of water; the participants must use their teeth to remove an apple from the basin. A variant of dooking involves kneeling on a chair, holding a fork between the teeth and trying to drop the fork into an apple. Another common game involves hanging up treacle or syrup-coated scones by strings; these must be eaten without using hands while they remain attached to the string, an activity which inevitably leads to a very sticky face.

Some games traditionally played at Halloween are forms of divination. In Puicíní (pronounced "poocheeny"), a game played in Ireland, a blindfolded person is seated in front of a table on which several saucers are placed. The saucers are shuffled and the seated person then chooses one by touch. The contents of the saucer determine the person's life during the following year. A saucer containing earth means someone known to the player will die during the next year, a saucer containing water foretells emigration, a ring foretells marriage, a set of Rosary beads indicates that the person will take Holy Orders (becoming a nun or a priest). A coin means new wealth, a bean means poverty, and so on. In 19th-century Ireland, young women placed slugs in saucers sprinkled with flour. The wriggling of the slugs and the patterns subsequently left behind on the saucers were believed to portray the faces of the women's future spouses.[citation needed] A traditional Irish and Scottish form of divining one's future spouse is to carve an apple in one long strip, then toss the peel over one's shoulder. The peel is believed to land in the shape of the first letter of the future spouse's name. This custom has survived among Irish and Scottish immigrants in the rural United States.

In North America, unmarried women were frequently told that if they sat in a darkened room and gazed into a mirror on Halloween night, the face of their future husband would appear in the mirror. However, if they were destined to die before marriage, a skull would appear. The custom was widespread enough to be commemorated on greeting cards from the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.

The telling of ghost stories and viewing of horror films are common fixtures of Halloween parties. Episodes of TV series and specials with Halloween themes (with the specials usually aimed at children) are commonly aired on or before the holiday while new horror films, like the popular Saw (film series), are often released theatrically before the holiday to take advantage of the atmosphere.

Visiting a haunted attraction like a haunted house or hayride (especially in the northeastern or midwest of the USA) are other Halloween practices. Notwithstanding the name, such events are not necessarily held in houses, nor are the edifices themselves necessarily regarded to possess actual ghosts. A variant of the haunted house is the "haunted trail", where the public encounters supernatural-themed characters or presentations of scenes from horror films while following a trail through a field or forest. One of the largest Halloween attractions in the United States is Knott's Scary Farm in California, which features re-themed amusement park rides and a dozen different walk through mazes, plus hundreds of costumed roving performers. Among other theme parks, Walt Disney World's Magic Kingdom stages a special separate admission event after regular park hours called Mickey's Not-So-Scary Halloween Party featuring a parade, stage show featuring Disney villains and a Happy HalloWishes fireworks show with a Halloween theme, while their sibling park in California, Disneyland holds Mickey's Halloween Treat at their California Adventure park. The Universal Studios theme parks in Hollywood and Orlando also feature annual Halloween events, dubbed Halloween Horror Nights.


Candy apple

Because the holiday comes in the wake of the annual apple harvest, candy apples (also known as toffee, taffy or caramel apples) are a common Halloween treat made by rolling whole apples in a sticky sugar syrup, and sometimes rolling them in nuts. At one time, candy apples were commonly given to children, but the practice rapidly waned in the wake of widespread rumors that some individuals were embedding items like pins and razor blades in the apples. While there is evidence of such incidents, they are quite rare and have never resulted in serious injury. Nonetheless, many parents assumed that such heinous practices were rampant; at the peak of the hysteria, some hospitals offered free x-rays of children's Halloween hauls in order to find evidence of tampering. Virtually all of the few known candy poisoning incidents involved parents who poisoned their own children's candy, while there have been occasional reports of children putting needles in their own (and other children's) candy in a mere bid for attention.

One Halloween custom which persists in modern-day day Ireland is the baking (or more often nowadays the purchase) of a barmbrack (Irish "báirín breac"), which is a light fruit cake into which a plain ring is placed before baking. It is said that those who get a ring will find their true love in the ensuing year.

Other foods associated with the holiday:

* Candy corn

* Báirín Breac (Ireland)

* Colcannon (Ireland)

* Bonfire toffee (in the UK)

* Toffee Apple (Australia when celebrated, England, Wales and Scotland, instead of "Candy Apples")

* Apple cider

* Cider

* Roasted sweetcorn

* Popcorn

* Roasted pumpkin seeds

* Pumpkin pie and pumpkin bread

* "Fun-sized" or individually wrapped pieces of small candy, typically in Halloween colors of orange, and brown/black.

* Novelty candy shaped like skulls, pumpkins, bats, worms, etc.

* Small bags of chips, pretzels and cheese corn

* Chocolates, caramels, and gum

* Nuts

Religious perspectives

In Ireland, Halloween is far more traditional an event than in North America, with more cultural and historical significance, as opposed to the commercialized importance on the other side of the Atlantic. Therefore, even amongst most conservative Christians, it is a far more accepted holiday with hardly any moral objections, in particular amongst Roman Catholics. However some people do find an Americanization occurring towards Halloween, which in turn could affect some traditions, notably the Samhain origins of the festival. It should also be noted that Guy Fawkes night is not celebrated in the Republic of Ireland at all. Therefore Halloween replaces the celebrations that are experienced in the UK on November 5, whereas in Britain Guy Fawkes Night is culturally more important.

In North America, Christian attitudes towards Halloween are quite diverse. The fact that All Saints Day and Halloween occur on two consecutive days has left some Christians uncertain of how they should treat this holiday. In the Anglican Church, some dioceses have chosen to emphasize the Christian traditions of All Saints Day, while some Protestants celebrate the holiday as Reformation Day, a day of remembrance and prayers for unity.Celtic Christians may have Samhain services that focus on the cultural aspects of the holiday, in the belief that many ancient Celtic customs are "compatible with the new Christian religion. Christianity embraced the Celtic notions of family, community, the bond among all people, and respect for the dead. Throughout the centuries, pagan and Christian beliefs intertwine in a gallimaufry (hodgepodge) of celebrations from October 31 through November 5, all of which appear both to challenge the ascendancy of the dark and to revel in its mystery."

Some Christian churches commonly offer a fall or harvest festival-themed alternative to Halloween. Many Christians ascribe no negative significance to Halloween, treating it as a purely secular holiday devoted to celebrating “imaginary spooks” and handing out candy. Halloween celebrations are common among Roman Catholic parochial schools throughout North America and in Ireland. In fact, the Roman Catholic Church sees Halloween as having a Christian connection. Father Gabriele Amorth, a Vatican-appointed exorcist in Rome, has said, "f English and American children like to dress up as witches and devils on one night of the year that is not a problem. If it is just a game, there is no harm in that." Most Christians hold the view that the tradition is far from being "satanic" in origin or practice and that it holds no threat to the spiritual lives of children: being taught about death and mortality, and the ways of the Celtic ancestors actually being a valuable life lesson and a part of many of their parishioners' heritage. A response among some fundamentalists in recent years has been the use of Hell houses or themed pamphlets (such as those of Jack T. Chick) which attempt to make use of Halloween as an opportunity for evangelism. Some consider Halloween to be completely incompatible with the Christian faith due to its origin as a Pagan "festival of the dead." In more recent years, the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Boston has organised a "Saint Fest" on the holiday. People of diverse religions (or no religion at all) may naturally be concerned about the vandalism that can occur on the holiday. Also, some Wiccans feel that the tradition is offensive to "real witches" for promoting stereotypical caricatures of "wicked witches".However, other Neopagans, perhaps most of them, see it as a harmless holiday in which some of the old traditions are celebrated by the mainstream culture, albeit in a different manner.


Ray Bradbury's The Halloween Tree features the holiday prominently. Halloween is frequently mentioned as an important date in the Harry Potter book series by J.K. Rowling, whose central themes are wizardry and magic. In Alan Moore's graphic novel Watchmen, several pivotal events occur on Halloween night, including the death of the original 'Nite-Owl'. Washington Irving's The Legend of Sleepy Hollow and the character of the Headless Horseman are often linked to the holiday in the public mindset due to later adaptations (though Halloween is not actually mentioned in the original work).

Films in which Halloween plays a major role include adaptations of the above works, plus the Halloween film series, Tim Burton's The Nightmare Before Christmas, Donnie Darko, and Hocus Pocus.

Numerous Halloween television specials have been broadcast, notably It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown and the annual Simpsons "Treehouse of Horror" episod