Sat 15 Sep, 2007 08:58 am
Which is the more proper spelling:
Halloween or Hallowe'en?
I've always spelled it without the apostrophe, but several erudite friends insist on the apostrophe.
My parents--particularly my mother--kept a close and critical eye on the public school cirriculum.
The second grade speller (probably printed in the early-to-mid '30's) mandated "Hallowe'en. I can remember both parents grumbling that the apostrophe was a foolish affectation in an increasingly secular world. We were allowed to omit the apostrophe every place but spelling tests.
And, actually, I think in the classroom, it might be good for students to see that. Someone would be bound to ask (or be lead to ask) what the apostrophe is for and then the teacher would have a teachable moment on his or her hands.
But, I don't know which is proper. I think either is equally ok.
I've always used Hallowe'en.
It doesn't look quite right to me without the apostrophe.
The old-fashioned apostrophe ties the date to the church calendar.
I think either would do nowadays.
And newcomers might pronounce Hallowe'en as Hallow Enn
According to my handy-dandy Webster's, both are correct, but Halloween is the preferred spelling these days (in the US).
Forty years ago, thankfully nobody in the UK had heard much of this "ghastly American nonsense". Now it has become a commercial institution here usually spelled without the apostrophe. I wonder how many kids here or in the USA actually know of its Christian and pagan origins as "All Hallows' Eve" and "Samhain".