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This is the first of a two-part series on Halloween by OED Consultant Editor Henry Hitchings. You can read the article in full, here. Halloween is an increasingly contentious occasion. Devotees claim that celebrating it is liberating and romantic – an opportunity to dress up and make merry. Yet critics complain that the festival is […]more
The holiday of Halloween has its roots in the British Isles; the word itself (short for All Hallows’ Eve, the night before All Saints’ Day on November 1), originated in Scotland. Nonetheless, it was in North America that disparate regional customs were amalgamated into the celebration we recognize today. The vocabulary of the holiday reflects […]more