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Trick or treat!

A scary and creative holiday

Ryan Ballard, 12, of Southbridge has a surprise for the trick or treaters as he gets ready to jump out from behind a bush. Shawn Kelley. (click for larger version)
November 01, 2009
The funny and the scary, the classic and the creative, the young and old were all out on Saturday, celebrating what to some, is the most fun — and frightening — night of the year.

On the Sturbridge Town Common, the Fire Department and local chapter of the Lions Club hosted scores of costumed kids and parents for the annual Horribles Parade and costume contest.

While Halloween as we know it today is a far cry from the origin of the holiday, a parade of creepy costumes is quite similar to the way the same day was commemorated thousands of years ago.

In what is now the United Kingdom, a people known as the Celts celebrated the New Year on Nov. 1.

The night before the new season though, Oct. 31, the Celts believed the spirits of people who had passed into the realm of the dead could once again mingle with the living. To ward off the negative spirits, people would dress like ghouls themselves to trick the spirits and be left alone. Others would dress in animal pelts and partake in a ceremony, which — in a far less ceremonious way — is still conducted at many Halloween parties today, a bonfire.

See Monday's Southbridge Evening News for complete coverage of community news.

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