This year Halloween officially falls on Sunday, but city officials believe Saturday evening will be the best time for local children to canvass neighborhoods in search of sweet treats and spooky surprises.
“Hopefully, more people will be at home on Saturday evening rather than Sunday because a lot of local churches have evening services at that time,” said City Manager James Stephens.
It seems that sentiment is being expressed in surrounding counties as well.
Stephens is also asking that children who participate in
Halloween activities after dusk to wear some form of reflective clothing.
Another option for pint-sized spooks is to take part in the Downtown Cedartown Associations Hometown Halloween event on Friday, Oct. 29.
Hometown Halloween will begin at 4 p.m. on the steps of the Polk County Courthouse No. 2. Participants are being asked to gather there for a group photo.
Children can visit local stores along Main Street until 6 p.m.
In addition, Rockmart will have a Halloween celebration on Saturday from 5 p.m. until 7 p.m.
The event will take place in downtown Rockmart and will include several activities. Hot dogs and soft drinks also are part of this annual event.
The American tradition of “trick-or-treating” probably dates back to the early All Souls’ Day parades in England. Poor citizens would beg for food and families would give them pastries called “soul cakes” in return for their promise to pray for the family’s dead relatives.
The distribution of soul cakes was encouraged by the church as a way to replace the ancient practice of leaving food and wine for roaming spirits. The practice, which was referred to as “going a-souling” was eventually taken up by children who would visit the houses in their neighborhood and be given ale, food and money.
The tradition of dressing in costume for Halloween has both European and Celtic roots. Hundreds of years ago, winter was an uncertain and frightening time. Food supplies often ran low and, for the many people afraid of the dark, the short days of winter were full of constant worry.
On Halloween, when it was believed that ghosts came back to the earthly world, people thought that they would encounter ghosts if they left their homes.
To avoid being recognized by these ghosts, people would wear masks when they left their homes after dark so that the ghosts would mistake them for fellow spirits.
(Staff writer Lowell Vickers contributed to this report)