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Happy Halloween!

What kind of mood are you in this Halloween?
Are you going to visit a themed carnival, go trick-or-treating and wear a scary costume? Or are you having a chill night-in with your girlfriends reading ghost stories out loud, drinking hot apple cider and watching Halloween movies?

Carving pumpkins, baking apple pie and making apple butter are must-do fun-activities on Halloween this year! It’s the season of the year that tells us that autumn is slowly ending and winter is around the corner.
What we love about Halloween is that everything is allowed!

You want to dress up like a Princess? Go for it!
You want to be a scary witch that has pimples all over her face and blood running down her nose? Have fun!
Or are you not a costume fan? Doesn’t matter – don’t dress up!

Whatever your choice, you can capture the mood by going to the SCN mode on your OLYMPUS PEN and choose "night and portrait" mode. Clip on the removable flash and fire away. The camera helps balance a crisp image of you while allowing some of the atmospheric lighting in the background to come through.

Traditionally, Halloween is one of the world’s oldest holidays and still celebrated today in a number of countries around the globe. It is most popular, surprise surprise, in Canada and the U.S. where 65% of all Americans decorate for Halloween. Americans love Halloween and all that comes with it – traditions include costume parties, trick-or-treating, pranks and games. More candy is sold on Halloween than on any other holiday in the U.S. – happy trick-or-treating!!

In Mexico and other Latin American countries, Halloween is known for – the Day of the Dead – which honors deceased loved ones and ancestors. It is celebrated throughout the country as an extended holiday, which actually lasts for three full days! The holiday is celebrated with in-home altars full of fruit, peanuts, turkey, soda, hot chocolate, water and stacks of tortillas. So different and interesting!

In Austria, people leave bread, water, and a lighted lamp out on the Halloween night. The Austrians once believed these would welcome the dead on the night they considered magical. How beautiful is that?

Similar to Austria, people in Belgium light candles on Halloween in memory of their dead relatives and they believe it is unlucky if a black cat crosses one’s path, enters a home, or travels on ship. Have you spotted a black cat today? We hope you won’t!

In the Czech and in Slovakia, chairs are placed by the fireside on Halloween night – for each family member’s spirit while in Germany, knives are put away so the returning spirits are not harmed. How spiritual!

So actually, Halloween is not a holiday to eat candy all night long but to honor the dead and welcome their spirits back into our homes.
If we do that, while having fun, eating sweets, partying on, and enjoying a bonfire mood, we believe that it’s our right to do so!

What are your very own cultural Halloween traditions? Share it with your PEN community!