IT is that time of the year again—in Norway, at least—when most children and young adults dress up as horrifying creatures of all sorts. How did this English-Irish tradition come to Norway and most of the western world?

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Classic Halloween Pumpkin. Photo by Adrian

Halloween has been a tradition in Ireland and the United Kingdom since the 19th century, long before it came to Norway. They believed that spirits of the dead could walk freely around on All Hallows Eve and most people would lay down food offerings for the spirits to leave them alone. The youth would dress up and either knock on the doors and ask for spirit cookies, or they would eat the offerings. Irish and British emigrants brought these traditions along when they emigrated to the US.

This holy evening, or All Hallows Eve, came to Norway as an cultural impulse from the United States of America in the early two-thousands. This tradition is therefore quite new in Norway and has only been here for approximately fourteen years. Although there have been some political campaigns against this door to door beggary for candy, the children don’t seem to want to stop going from door to door on Halloween.

Furthermore, if you walk into almost any store or shopping mall in Norway during the last three weeks of October you’ll most likely be reminded that Halloween is just around the corner. Don’t forget to buy a lot of candy and decorations, to dress up your house and give candy to all the scary kids that come knocking.

Happy Halloween!

adrian