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Halloween a time to let loose and be whoever (or whatever) you want

CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Halloween, or All Hallows Eve, is almost here! Buy your costumes, candy and decorations. Bring out the goblins, ghouls, ghosts, witches and "Harry Potter" memorabilia. You want to be prepared for the best time of year! Then, when the 31st rolls around, go trick-or-treating or to costume parties, watch horror movies, carve pumpkins or cause havoc with your friends.

But how many of you know the history of Halloween?

October 31 is the eve of the Feast of All Hallows, hence All Hallows Eve. Halloween is mostly derived from the Celtic Samhain, a Gaelic Harvest Festival celebrating the end of the "light year" and the beginning of the "dark year." (Spring and summer are the light, and fall and winter are the dark.) Also, it is derived from All Hallows or All Saints Day, which is a day celebrated by Western Christianity that commemorates Christian saints.

Now you know where it comes from, but why is it so to us?

Halloween is important if for nothing else then because it is a day to completely express yourself. You can dress up and be anyone or anything you want, and no one will judge you. It is probably the most non-judgmental day of the year.

You can be somebody that you normally are not, and it will be socially acceptable. (Mostly. If you dress up like Justin Bieber, you might have some judgment cast your way.) You couldn't dress as a zombie tomorrow and it would be OK, but on Halloween, nobody cares!

Also, it is one of the best days for the economy. So much candy is bought and so many costumes and decorations are purchased that Halloween can help struggling stores get back on their feet. According to the National Retail Federation, Americans will spend an estimated eight billion dollars on Halloween-related items this year.

However, for many people, Halloween is just another excuse to get together with friends and family, to go to costume parties and see people they haven't seen in a while. Mostly is it just a day to go a little crazy and let loose. It is one of the only holidays that we can do that.

Whether you're under the age of 12 and eating enough candy to feed your entire neighborhood or over the age of 21 and going to a party or bar, always make Halloween a night to remember.


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