So the children march the night in costumes, gathering treats from the town, scolded not to eat them until their parents have had time to check the candy (in reality to allow the parents the ability to count and tally the treats). And when the witching hour commences and the first second of dreary November passes the bogeyman comes, slipping unnoticed from any doorway to steal the child away.
Why do the townsfolk permit this? Because those who participate in the ritual, signified by the display of a fearsomely carved or illuminated vegetable on their doorstep, are protected from the supernatural for the long winter ahead. Some say it is his will alone that keeps the peripherals at bay, others say he is their lord.
Happy Halloween, I hope you get lots of candy...just not more than my own kin..