Keep calm and scary on

Lisa Skogsøy, School News Reporter

The scariest holiday of the year has finally made its appearance. I generally look forward to all the holidays here in the States and Halloween is no exception. In Norway, Halloween is celebrated, but on a much smaller scale. It is a tradition we adopted from the U.S., but it’s not really Norwegian, so it does not have quite the same ferocity as it does here. Some Norwegians don’t even have candy because they don’t know the date of Halloween. It’s low key, at least where I live.

I live out on a farm fifteen minutes from civilization on a peninsula, so “trick or treating” out there does not exist, because if you don’t count my two neighbors (one of them being my grandmother), the nearest house is a forty-minute walk away. Also, during Halloween here in the U.S. you could see high schoolers walking around, and junior high kids as well. In Norway it’s only the little kids walking around.

A sight you will not see either is people sitting out in their driveways handing out candy, which was kind of fascinating. I sat and watched the spectacle in the driveway tucked into layers of clothing.  While I saw an array of interesting costumes, I noticed that the costumes were not overly scary. The holiday that evolved from All Hallows Eve or Samhain has turned into more of a carnival costume thing. Not that it is a bad thing, it just goes against the fascinating original story.

I learned about the origin of Halloween in English class in Norway, but I got the impression that it’s not common knowledge here, so I’ll tell you.

Halloween has a lot of myths about its origin, and it is mainly believed to come from the Celtic harvest festival–Samhain, which is a celebration of remembering the dead, and some believed that the dead came back to Earth on that particular day. The tradition of “trick or treating,” however, started in the Middle Ages when children and poor adults would dress up as evil spirits and beg for food from farm owners. People at that time were very superstitious and believed in goblins and evil spirits, so on that day they would give away food in fear of retaliation from the spirits.

Well, I enjoyed a lot of candy and fun costumes, even though I don’t believe in goblins and angry evil spirits. Now I am looking forward to the next holiday here in the U.S.