Halloween has been associated with everything that is creepy from jack-o-lanterns, pumpkins, ghouls, vampires and haunted houses. But does anyone know the origins of this festival, which has been celebrated as one of the most fun days of the year? Halloween dates back many years to a Celts festival called Samhain, which means the end of the harvest season. The term Halloween is shortened from the word, All-hallow-even, and the day usually falls on the evening of or before 'All Hallows' Day' or 'All Saints' Day'. November 1 is the new year for the Celts, who lived 2,000 years ago in the area now part of Ireland, the United Kingdom, and northern France. This is the day which marked the end of summer and harvest. The ancient Celts believed that on the night of October 31, ghosts of the dead would return to earth. They believed boundaries between the worlds of the living and the dead overlap each other and the deceased would return to life and cause disasters such as disease or cause crop damages. The Celts celebrated Samhain by dressing up in costumes with animal heads and lighting up bonfires, where the bones of slaughtered livestock were thrown. Costumes and masks were also worn at the festivals in an attempt to mimic the evil spirits or placate them. By A.D. 43, the Romans had conquered the majority of Celtic territory. During the course of the four hundred years that they ruled the Celtic lands, two festivals of Roman origin were combined with the traditional Celtic celebration of Samhain. Later on, the influence of Christianity had spread into Celtic lands. In the seventh century, Pope Boniface IV designated November 1 as All Saints' Day, a time to honour saints and martyrs. It is widely believed today that the Pope was attempting to replace the Celtic festival of the dead with a related, but church-sanctioned holiday. Many Celts settled in Britain and Ireland, where the festival became popular. Those who moved to America took the tradition with them. These practices also changed over time to become more ritualised. As belief in spirit possession faded, the practice of dressing up like hob-goblins, ghosts, and witches took on a more ceremonial role. Nowadays, most people celebrate Halloween only for fun and are not worried about ghosts. Teenagers will dress up as devils, angels, mummies, vampires, zombies and witches while they hang out on streets or join Halloween parties. The traditional Halloween game is 'trick or treat'. Although it is difficult for teenagers to go house to house to pick up candies, they may play in classrooms or visit shopping malls instead. Children enjoy playing mischievous tricks and getting sweets. Another famous Halloween game is 'ducking for apples' when people try to pick up an apple held in water with their mouths. , Halloween is the best time to visit haunted houses and watch horror films - if you dare! Many schools organise Halloween costume parties as well. There are lots of shops in Hong Kong which sell these costumes to help you get into the spirit. Costumes can be bought at convenient shops or big stores such as 'Toys R Us'. Face and body makeup is also available to help make the festival more ghoulish.