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Lesson Transcript

Top 10 US Holidays—Halloween
Halloween is typically celebrated in the United States by children dressing up in various costumes and going from house to house collecting candy. A door knock is answered with a cheerful "Trick or treat!" The holiday falls on October 31 every year, and children aren't the only ones celebrating. Adults also enjoy going to costume parties.
The history of the name dates back to the Scottish, and it translates to "All Hallows Eve." The holiday is a mix of Celtic practices and also Roman Catholic rituals. In many cultures, Halloween is the day when the dead are allowed to return to earth, although in the United States this is mostly expressed only through the spookiness of the holiday. Halloween is a time to be scared and to frighten others, usually through ghoulish pranks.
The way Americans celebrate Halloween can be traced all the way back to its roots in Celtic and Roman times. Bonfires were a hallmark of the celebration, just as they are today. In the United States, it is common for children and their parents to carve faces into pumpkins, which are known as jack-o-lanterns. This custom dates back to the Irish and Scottish practice of carving turnips, which was meant to be done in remembrance of those who were in purgatory.
Dressing up in costumes and going door to door also dates to the Middle Ages, during which the poor would go around to the doors of various residents on this holiday to ask for food. In return, they would pray for the dead.