Decoding Halloween


Halloween, a term all Americans are well acquainted to. But, a word not all internationals are well aware of. Various countries around the world celebrate Halloween but may have a different approach or some tradition that differ. So for a little background for those who have no idea what I am rambling about. This past week the entire Clark community celebrated it in various ways. You could see people walking on the streets with some pretty unique and witty costumes.

Halloween, also known as All Hallows’ Eve, is a yearly celebration observed in a number of countries on 31 October, the eve of the Western Christian feast of All Hallows’ Day. It initiates, the time in the liturgical year dedicated to remembering the dead, including saints (hallows), martyrs, and all the faithful departed believers.

Typical festive Halloween activities include trick-or-treating, attending costume parties, decorating, carving pumpkins into jack-o’-lanterns, lighting bonfires, apple bobbing, visiting haunted attractions, playing pranks, telling scary stories, and watching horror films.


I asked around some of the internationals about their first impressions, expectations or their own perceptions about Halloween. And this is what they had to say:


Turku, a student from turkey, shared her expectations and experience: “I expected it to be a big thing, decorations, children going trick or treating, parties but there was nothing. No children, no trick or treating, just some house parties.”


Daniela, also an international from El Salvador, said: “We celebrated Halloween as I went to an international school, but it was so different. Here people just dress up and go to class”


Maria, a first-year student from Germany said: “ I was kind of disappointed with the lack of action, what I heard or thought was going to happen never happened. Just a bunch of people dressing up and going to parties.”


Now for some Halloween trivia:

  • Halloween candy sales average about 2 billion dollars annually in the United States alone.
  • Halloween is the 2nd most commercially successful holiday, behind Christmas.
  • Illinois, California, New York, and Ohio produce more than 100 million pounds of pumpkins each year. These states are U.S. leaders in pumpkin growing.
  • Orange and black are traditional Halloween colors for a reason. Orange was chosen because of its association with the fall harvest and black was chosen due to its association with darkness.
  • Our beloved Jack o’ Lanterns originated in Ireland where people placed candles in hollowed-out turnips to dismiss haunted spirits.


-Radhika Sharma 


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