By Ela VasilescuWriter

Halloween is a yearly celebration on the eve of All Saints Day on November 1st, a national holiday in Italy. Halloween was born from an Anglo-Saxon ancestor, Samhain, a Gaelic festival marking the end of the harvest season and the beginning of winter or the “darker half” of the year, a time when spirits or fairies were particularly active. It was where jack-o’-lantern was born, although turnips or beets, not pumpkins, wore his many faces then.

halloween foto

The story of the jack-o’-lantern has taken many forms that travelled across Europe. Jack, a thief, managed to trap Satan and strip him of his powers, thus stealing a promise that he will never take his soul. When he died, Satan kept his promise, but because Jack led such a sinful life, he could not be allowed in Heaven either. Nor here, nor there, left in darkness, Jack asked for something to light his way. Satan mockingly tossed him an ember from the flames of Hades and Jack carved out one of his turnips, put the ember inside it, and began endlessly wandering the Earth for a resting place. The celebration made its way to Italy fifteen years ago, also borrowing the beloved tradition of going door to door in costume on a quest for chocolates, most likely imposed by Americans later on. On October 31st, jack-o’-lanterns are being carved, costumes designed, and fangs taken out of their boxes to be worn proudly. “Trick or treat” wormed its way into the vocabularies of Italian children too, becoming a melodic “dolcetto o scherzetto”. Florence is no stranger to this celebration. The narrow streets fill with trembling lights at night fall, screams and laughter, impressive costumes, zombies or skeletons all mingling together, set out on a quest for the best party or greatest treats. On October 31st a large market will be held near the Florence stadium in the Campo di Marte area. Rionalissima is a yearly market where over 300 stalls are present from 8am to about 7pm. Florence Ghost Walk is also something fun to do on this celebrated night. Two guides dress up as watchmen and take you around Florence late during the evening, while recounting of horrible, sad and scary true stories which are part of Florence’s history. Also, most restaurants and pubs will be open and will organize theme-based events, so, entertainment can take many shapes on this spooky night. What are you waiting for? Grab your jack-o’-lantern and “trick or treat”!