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*foot notes

October 27, 2000|JAMES E. FOWLER

It's Halloween.

Most people trace the holiday to the early Catholic Church in Ireland. Nov. 1 is a traditional Catholic holy day, All Saints' Day or All Hallows' Day. Oct. 31 was All Hallows' Eve, which in Ireland coincided with the Celtic celebration of Samhain, the end of summer.

* Tradition has it the ancient Celts believed that on that day, the disembodied spirits of those who had died during the previous year would come in search of living bodies to possess. On the night of Oct. 31, people would put out the fires in their hearths to make their homes dark and cold so the spirits would find them undesirable. They would also dress up in scary costumes in order to frighten the spirits away.

* While most Americans believe Halloween is nothing more than harmless fun, certain Christian groups hold the holiday has pagan roots and is still a demonic celebration of dark evil forces. The History Channel will present "The Haunted History of Halloween" Saturday at 10 p.m. Check your local cable listings.

* The Internet has the Halloween spirit, with dozens of sites dedicated to the holiday. One,, offers information on costumes, treats, cards and spooky stories. There are several virtual haunted houses, including one at

* Most local community recreation centers have Halloween carnivals planned for children Tuesday. Most malls in the Valley will offer trick-or-treating for youngsters that day. For the more adventurous Halloween revelers, several local haunted houses are open throughout the weekend.

* Noblitt Costumes in North Hollywood says 1920s flappers and zoot suits are the most popular costume choices for adults this year. (818) 769-4737. Costumes by Magic World in Chatsworth says kids are asking for Woody, the cowboy character from "Toy Story."

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