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Spooky, creepy, kooky tricks and treats fly inPoll

Sweet treats: After spending two years in America for Halloween Ava Stevens, 8, shares her expertise on the best candy, costumes and decorations for locals to use for October 31 celebrations. Photo: Jessica Long
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WHATis Halloween all about?

For local Ava Stevens, aged 8, it’s a real treat.

In the past two years Ava and her family have spent Halloween in America, loosely known as the holiday’s capitalbut it wasn’t where the tradition began.

Halloween came to the United States in the second half of the 19thcenturywhen European and Irish immigrants reportedly floodedAmerica.The Irish were fleeing from the potato famine of 1846. The combination of cultures and traditions led to the establishment oftrick-or-treatand in the 1950sHalloween was aimed at youths in an attemptto limit vandalism.

Its beginnings however derived from ancient, pre-Christian Celtic periods wherepeople celebrated thefestival of the deadall over Europe.

It was one of four holidays whichdivided the year into seasons. The festival marked the beginning of winter, and as suchboth an endand a beginning of the yearly crop cycle.

But, for Ava, she said it was all about having fun with friends and family, dressing up, decorating houses, telling scary stories and sharing only the best American candy about.

Last year shesaid she was lucky enough to come across candy corn, Hershey’s chocolates andSour Patch Kids, but she also said popular Halloween candy in America was also easily found on Australian shores such as: M&M’s, Nerds, Kit Kats and bubblegum.

And it seems parts of Nowra are grabbing hold of the tradition.There is even a Facebook page, Halloween in Nowra, where members are discussing how to best create decorations,make treats and where to go for a trick-or-treatevening with the family.

But when you trick-or-treatdown the spooky lanes of Jacksonville, Florida, Ava said youhave to put on a brave face to collect your precious candy from some of the kookiest collection pots.

“I remember one of the houses we went to was a big two-storey house and it was covered in vampire blood, spiders webs and ghosts,” she said.

“You had to put your hand into a [Halloween] decorated secret bowl, which you couldn’t see inside of and guess what it was you picked out.”

Ona school excursion Ava was taken to a “pumpkin patch” with her fellow students to pick out an appropriate pumpkinto carve,grownpurely for Halloween.

The trendiest children’s costumes, according to Ava, were vampires, zombies, witches and batman. This year at her Nowra American-styled Halloween party she plans to be a vampire-witch.

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