The History of Halloween

Leya Brittain, Editor & Writer

Hang on for a minute...we're trying to find some more stories you might like.

Email This Story

Mountains of candy, the air full of screams and laughter, tiny superheroes and witches sprinting through the streets; all of these elements make up the traditional night of Halloween.

Halloween is one of many traditions that has been around for thousands of years. This custom first originated almost 2,000 years ago and was modeled from the Samhain (pronounced sow-in) celtic festival.

On the night of October 31, the Celts believed the lines between the living and the dead were blurred; meaning the ghosts of the dead could return to the earth for only that one night. Druids, Celtic priests, used this time to make predictions about the future. The Celtics would gather around in traditional costumes and try to tell each other’s fortunes.

Later on in the eighth century Pope Gregory III made November 1 the day to celebrate all saints. They called it All Saints Day, but other names like All-hallows or All-hallowmas were used. Eventually, the name was changed to Halloween.

Halloween costumes were originally used to ward off ghosts and evil spirits, but as generations went by Halloween costumes were more for fun games and romance. Young women during this time would dress up to find suitable husbands.

Women would also put apples in giant water bins with the suitors names on it and try to grab them with their mouths. This tradition became known as  “bobbing for apples” and in the last hundred years has become less popular because parents thought it as an unsanitary game for children.

Another common Halloween tradition is Trick-or-Treating. This custom originally occurred during Christmas. It became a trade of food and money between the rich and the poor. In the late 1800s, Halloween in America became more family oriented and less about pranks and witchcraft. Inturn, Trick-or-Treating began to involve sweet treats instead of dirty money and bread.

Over the thousands of years that Halloween has been celebrated, it will continue to be an outlet for all the creepy and ghosty things that happen throughout that time of year.