Halloween is a feast of spirits. It is celebrated on October 31st, mainly in the USA. Although this holiday originally comes from the Celts, it arrived in Europe from America. The Celts believed that on the last day of October (according to their calendars the 31st), ghosts of the dead visited the earth. It was thought that the spirits of the dead come back home searching for a cosy shelter. Therefore, in the evenings, bonfires were lit on the hills to scare away the evil powers and to show the dead’s spirits the way home. To scare off evil spirits, people put on masks, made noise, lit lights, etc. From then on Halloween has continued to be celebrated with these traditions in the United States. Most individuals like to celebrate this day, however, for some it has ended tragically.
When 17-year-old Maria was collecting sweets, she expected to only meet people in fancy dress. Unfortunately, she met a real monster. Shortly after midnight on the memorable Halloween of 1981, Maria was noticed by a policeman while returning home. A few minutes later he decided to give her a ride, but the girl disappeared. One year later the police found her body chopped into 3 pieces, buried next to an abandoned house. In the shallow grave, another body of a seventeen-year-old girl was found (who also disappeared one year earlier) . The son of the owner of the house was accused of these, and other, murders and sentenced to life imprisonment.
It is said that one should not take sweets from strangers. What about your own father then? In 1974, eight-year-old Timothy died of a halloween trick. The day after his death, the insurance agent notified the police that the child's father had changed the insurance one day before the holiday. Timothy's father was arrested on suspicion of murder. The man gave his son a poisoned candy to earn $40,000 using the life insurance policy. The father of the boy was sentenced to death, and came to be known as ‘Candy-man’.
You may be familiar with another story as it became really well known. In 2013, six-year-old Jordan tried to play a prank on his sister. The boy wanted to imitate a hangman dangling from Halloween decorations. But, surprisingly, he slipped and hanged...for real. Unfortunately, at the beginning the family thought that the boy was only pretending, so they ignored him. When they realized that it was not a joke, it was too late. Although a rescue team arrived quickly, Jordan could not be saved. After twelve hours fighting for life on life support machines his body gave up.
In 2004, after handing out Halloween candy three room-mates Leslie, Adrian and Loren went to sleep. Around one o'clock one of them was woken up by the screams of her friends. The frightened girl rushed outside as she saw someone getting out though the window. As soon as the figure disappeared, Loren ran upstairs to check what happened. It turned out that her room-mates had been stabbed. The police arrived some time later but the killer was only found a year later. He was the fiancé of one of the girls. The motive for the murder was his jealousy of the friendship between the room-mates.
Halloween is a holiday adored by children who collect candy in various costumes. In 2012, the costume of one girl caused a tragic mistake. A child dressed in a black-and-white costume was accidentally taken for a skunk by a family member who decided to hunt the animal down. The girl was shot in the shoulder and immediately taken to hospital. Fortunately, they managed to save her.
There are many more stories which have taken place on October 31st in different countries. Bad people exploit the situation when everybody around them is wearing costumes and having a good time. People are less careful and alert. Take care then, as this holiday is getting more and more popular in Poland as well ;)