samhain

As parents of young children, we find British Halloween a harrowing experience. We miss the way the evening is celebrated back home across the pond. Halloween in America is tacky and commercialised but at least it's generally frowned upon to dress youngsters in gory, menacing costumes.
Consider this for a moment - there's a fair chance that you, or someone in your family, spent the weekend dressing up like a rotting corpse, and standing in a room with various other ghouls and demonic creatures, munching on eyeball cupcakes and drinking witches' piss punch. Odd, isn't it? That's the curious thing about history; even when it loses all its meaning, some traditions just cling on regardless, making us look a bit weird in the process. Anthropologists sometimes call this teleological superfluity, when the original purpose of something is lost but it continues being used anyway, like wooden handles on steak knives.