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Halloween Is In The Air Six Reasons Why We Love The Scary Season

When the nights begin to draw in and beautiful autumnal reds and browns start to color the trees, it's a sure sign that the season of Halloween is approaching. Halloween is one of the most popular holidays in the calendar, and the National Retail Federation's Consumer Intentions and Actions Survey, conducted by BIGresearch, reports that nearly two thirds of consumers expect to celebrate it in 2006. Halloween has come a long way from its Celtic origins, when the original festival of Samhain took place to mark the passage between the two main seasons, summer and winter. In that ancient culture, the celebration was closely connected with the importance of the harvest and the belief that spirits wandered free at this time of the year.

While supernatural beliefs may no longer play a central role in modern day Halloween celebrations, there are still many colorful traditions and customs that remind us of the legends and rituals of the distant past. The colors and tastes of fall still feature strongly in our Halloween recipes and decorations. Popular pumpkin carving patterns for our nighttime lanterns remind us of the 'sacred fires' of the Celtic tribes.

And spooky homemade costumes bring to mind superstitions about mischievous fairies and sprites. The Halloween spirit thrives in part because each successive generation finds new ways to re-invent its traditions and adapt them to its own sense of fun. Here are six ways to explain why this ancient celebration finds itself on a 21st century roll: * It's a holiday that everyone can take part in, young and old. * It's pretty: decked with the rich colors of fall, Halloween is a treat for the senses and brings the sights and smells of harvest time to the fore * Everyone enjoys an excuse to dress up -- and these days, the 'horror' theme is only one of several ideas that inspire inventive costumes and disguises. You can find an elaborate outfit for sale or hire, re-purpose that wacky gear you found at the consignment store or fashion your own unique costume based on an everyday item from your closet.

* Formality and complicated entertaining goes out of the window at Halloween, when the guests are likely to arrive in weird or comic apparel and finger food or buffet menus are the order of the day. * This holiday brings out the hidden artist in us all, as imaginative craft projects go into making invitations and decorations and filling every creepy nook and cranny of the Haunted House. * The season fosters community spirit as neighbors prepare for the first trick-or-treaters and get together for parties with friends and family. The spirit of the old traditions lives on in the heritage, folklore and celebrations of Halloween: a modern take on an ancient festival.

Have you started planning your Halloween party yet? Are you on the lookout for good ideas for Halloween costumes? Find the ingredients for a great Halloween celebration:

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