Halloween has been around worldwide for over 2,000 years and of course, as you can guess, it started on October 31st. It originated with the ancient Celtic festival of Samhain: the division of the year between the lighter half (summer) and the darker half (winter). The Celts believed that on this day the division between the two halves was the thinnest, allowing spirits to enter Earth. They would celebrate with a huge bonfire and dance around it wearing costumes of evil spirits as a disguise from the real spirits. Later on, Christianity adopted this celebration of the dead. Wearing scary costumes and masks have survived over the years to what we wear today, however, the “trick-or-treating” we know today, wasn’t the same as before. In the past, people used to go around their neighborhood, house to house, asking for food or money, except that now, the money and food have turned into candy and that occasional toothbrush from the dentist’s house everyone throws out.
Nantucket has been celebrating Halloween for quite some time, though no one really knows when it started on the island. There are many popular places to trick or treat, such as Mizzenmast, Main Street, and Naushop, but Main Street and much of downtown is the most popular area for families. Main Street has many businesses decorating their storefronts with spooky ghosts or cobwebs, allowing children to walk inside their stores and grab handfuls (yeah we said that) of candy. The street closes down at 4pm so the festivities can begin safely for the trick-or-treaters, and by 5pm, there is usually live music and a parade. The parade consists of kids who are young and old, showing off their costumes to the people watching on the sides. At the end of the parade, there is a winner for the best costume.
Mizzenmast and Naushop are both big neighborhoods where the people go all out with decorations. Some people have crazy amounts of scary decorations planted all over their yard showing off their Halloween spirit while most greet trick or treaters at their door. Others leave out a bowl of candy that gets wiped out by the few lucky kids that get there first. The Boys and Girls Club of Nantucket also participates in the fun by holding a free haunted house tour available for anyone brave enough to venture inside.
There are many different ways to go about Halloween whilst some just go out once, hit every place, and then leave. Others have the right idea by going out, head to every store, then switching their costume with their friends and repeating the same pattern again. Since the people giving out the candy are too overwhelmed by everyone, chances are that they won’t even recognize the kids that changed their costumes.
Of course, the most important thing is to have fun, stay safe and eat lots of candy!