Halloween is my absolute favourite time of year. I love the autumn season, but what I love more is that we grown ups have an excuse to dress up in all kinds of crazy costumes, and eat junk like we're kids again.
Although Halloween is the universal time of year to dress up and play tricks on each other, we Italians have another day where we do such things, Carnevale. Our Italian carnival has been celebrated for centuries, and was originally seen as an opportunity to indulge in sweets and other sugary treats before the start of Lent.
Unlike Halloween, Carnevale takes place early on in the year (end of January - February) and is generally a holiday for children. Youngsters roam around town dressed in eclectic-and sometimes plain hilarious-costumes, leaving remnants of sweets and silly string wherever they go.
Although most of Italy celebrates Carnevale this way, there is an exception. In Venice, everyone, including tourists, children and adults, celebrate Carnevale. The holiday takes over the whole city, and is a time filled with masked balls, costume parades and fireworks!
Don't get me wrong; I love Carnevale, but nothing beats snuggling up with some pumpkin flavoured treats and Hocus Pocus during the Halloween season.
Halloween is celebrated in many different ways around the world. For example, in Mexico, Halloween is only a stepping-stone for Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead), which is celebrated from the 31st October until the 2nd November, and is a day that honours those who have passed away. There are colourful altars, all night vigils at cemeteries, special kinds of food, and mini skulls made of sugar.
America is probably the most outrageous and extravagant place to celebrate the Halloween season. Americans go all out! Houses on every street corner are decorated with pumpkins; lights, skeletons, ghosts and ghouls, and some even turn their own houses into haunted ones. Simply amazing.
Halloween in the UK is extremely mellow in comparison. We may dress up here and there, give out some sweets, maybe take our young family members out trick or treating, but mostly we watch Halloween movies, or Halloween TV specials, and see what lavish things they are doing over on the other side of the world.
Let's do it differently this year boys and ghouls. Let's look to the Halloween queen herself, the Mistress of the Dark, Elvira, for some much-needed Halloween help, and get our scare on.