Halloween is an annual festival which takes place on October 31th and has its roots in pagan customs. In the United States Halloween is celebrated by hosting costume parties, playing 'trick-or-treat', watching horror films, visiting haunted houses or carving lanterns out of pumpkins.
Halloween is usually celebrated amongst family, friends and, sometimes, co-workers. However, some areas hold large community events. Parties and other events may be planned on October 31 or in the weekends before and after this date.
Many children dress up in fancy costumes and visit other homes in the neighborhood. At each house, they demand sweets, snacks or a small gift. If they do not get this, they threaten to do some harm to the inhabitants of the house. This is known as playing 'trick-or-treat'.
Some families carve lanterns with 'scary' faces out of pumpkins or other vegetables or decorate their homes and gardens in Halloween style.
One cause that ties with Halloween is collecting donations for the United Nations International Children's Emergency Fund (UNICEF). As children trick-or-treat on Halloween night, some of them might carry small cardboard boxes with the UNICEF logo on them and collect coins instead of the usual candy. The money collected is then given to UNICEF and used to help needy children worldwide.