A holiday celebrating a number of different things, including monsters, ghosts, autumn, harvests, and fun. Originally, it was Samhain, a pagan festival marking the end of summer and remembering the spirits of the dead. Later, it became a religious festival when the Catholic Church designated it as All Hallow's Eve and All Saint's Day. After that, it was a harvest festival, then a celebration of pranks, and nowadays, primarily a celebration for celebrating.

There are many, many different ways to celebrate Halloween. Children like to dress up in fanciful costumes and go Trick-or-Treating for candy. Adults like to dress up in fanciful costumes and go drinking in bars. You can also attend or participate in haunted houses, watch lots of horror movies, host storytelling parties, drop acid in a cemetery, decorate your house and yard to spook the kiddies, listen to spooky music, and much, much more.

Here's the cold, hard truth: Halloween is the best and most important holiday of the year! Better than Christmas, Easter, New Year's Day, Independence Day, April Fool's Day, St. Patrick's Day, or even Arbor Day. Everyone gets sick of all the others, but no right-thinking person ever grows tired of Halloween. Scary costumes, candy, and spooky episodes of your favorite sitcoms are all one needs to survive.

But nowadays, Halloween has enemies...

Some people want the holiday banned out of concern for their children. Some say Halloween should be banned because it keeps kids up on school nights (Puh-leeze. Let's ban nightmares, too -- they can keep kids up 'til morning, ya know). Some want the holiday banned because it's gotten too dangerous (actually, the vast majority of reported incidents of Halloween candy poisonings are hoaxes, perpetrated either by the children reporting the incidents or by adults trying to cover up for other crimes). Concern for your children's safety is commendable, but let's not ruin the holiday for the rest of us.

And some people want to ban Halloween because they say it's a Satanic holiday -- a claim that is pretty clearly untrue. While there are people who consider Halloween to be a religious holiday, the overwhelming majority of them are Wiccans and other neo-pagans -- very definitely not devil-worshippers. As for the dodgy logic of wanting to ban a secular holiday because a small number of people attach religious significance to it... good luck, kid. You got an uphill battle ahead of ya.

And of course, Halloween certainly does have its origins in many pre-Christian and pagan customs. If that's enough to warrant the end of the holiday, then you better get ready to say good-bye to Christmas and Easter, too. Both of them include popular customs which originated with pagans -- including Christmas trees, Easter eggs, Santa Claus, and even the date of Christmas itself. That's because, centuries ago, the Catholic Church had a policy of adopting pagan customs into church ritual in order to make it easier for the pagans to convert to Christianity and stick with it. So the date of the winter festival was converted to Christmas, the druidic veneration of evergreens was adopted as the Christmas tree, and ancient customs of appeasing the spirits of the dead in the autumn were sanctioned by the church as part of All Hallow's Day and All Hallow's Eve. And if you're a staunch enough fundamentalist to want to get rid of all holidays that have pagan origins or customs, well... again, good luck. This is just not your day.

On the bright side, despite the various enemies of Halloween, they are a very tiny minority with very little real support. Most people view Halloween as a fun and fairly innocent holiday, a welcome dose of thrills and chaos in a dull and ordered world. It's going to be around for a long, long time.