Halloween is the second most popular holiday in the United States, but it is also extremely popular in most other Anglophone countries. Maybe you are wondering what Halloween is really about, and how to celebrate it. Maybe your kids are asking questions because it is becoming more common as a party theme in France. So what it is all about?
Halloween is an ancient tradition that dates to pre-Roman times in Celtic regions like Ireland. There are many myths and legends surrounding the origins of Halloween, but most of them point to a connection with honouring the dead. It is no coincidence that Halloween and the Day of the Dead celebrations in other countries happen at the same time (and the Christian holiday which followed centuries later, All Saint’s Day). This is the time of year that represents harvest time in all cultures: preparations for winter begin, days get shorter, and weather gets colder. But October 31st was considered to be the night when the portal between the world of the living and the world of the dead was open—or at least closer than any other time of year.
Many different traditions stemming from ancient times still exist for this holiday, the most common one being dressing in scary costumes or even as dead people, in an effort to scare away evil spirits. Carving scary faces into gourds and pumpkins and putting them in front of your home is another tradition. Today, like many cultural celebrations, Halloween has become very commercial, and the historic meaning is often lost. But it remains one of the most beloved days of children—and it can be educational too! If your child is learning English, Halloween is a wonderful opportunity to combine language learning with having fun—which is proven to be the most effective way to remember a new language!
In that spirit, here are the top 5 reasons you should celebrate Halloween with your kids!
1. At a Halloween party, they can be immersed in an English environment. Here in Grenoble, places like Speak English Kids host Halloween parties for kids, and of course this is entirely in English! Other Anglophone groups in your town are likely to have a costume party for adults and children too. This is a great way to make Anglophone friends, and spend a fun day or evening completely immersed in English.
2. They can become whoever they want. Does your child want to be a superhero? A princess? A fireman? A professional boxer? Kids can let their imagination run wild at Halloween, and they can become whoever they want just this one day in the year—and they love it!
3. It’s a holiday that can be celebrated by everyone, regardless of religion or politics. It isn’t connected to political events or wars; it also isn’t connected to any religious holidays. It is just fun for the sake of having fun, and that’s something to celebrate in itself!
4. One advantage of the mass commercialization of Halloween (yes there is an advantage!) is that there are many fun children’s books and movies for Halloween. This is another great way to help your kids (and you!) learn English! Watching films and reading fun books provides a way to learn that doesn’t feel like studying or working. And this is the KEY to acquiring English quickly and permanently!
5. They are exposed to a history and culture that is different from their own, which can be educational, even if it doesn’t feel like it at first! Traditions like Halloween which have a specific origin can bring people together and teach about history—in this case a history that dates back 2000 years!
So don’t be shy, don’t hesitate—when Halloween comes around every October 31st, take your kids and CELEBRATE!
Join Speak English Center and Speak English Kids for a Halloween party on October 31ST!
EVERYONE IS WELCOME! CLICK HERE FOR DETAILS!