The History of Halloween

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The History of Halloween

Patrick Hyatt and Julian Meza

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by Patrick Hyatt and Julian Meza

Halloween is a great holiday. You can be anything you want to be for one night. Sometimes it can be great and you can have the time of your life with your friends… or it can rain. I’m pretty sure we all can agree that Halloween is one of the favorites when it comes to holidays, but why is that? Why do we like going out to celebrate this festive day?

The History Halloween

Halloween goes back more than 2,000 years ago. It was created by a European tribe known as the Celts. They didn’t celebrate what Halloween is nowadays however; they celebrated what’s known as Samhain (pronounced saa·wn) which always landed on October 31st. When this day came, they believed that the dead would come back to life on Earth. Because of this, they needed to get rid of the spirits by wearing costumes and lighting bonfires.  They didn’t want the spirits because they believed they would make their crops die during winter and fall. They were so serious about banishing the spirits that they would sacrifice animals and sometimes people. By the 9th century, however, Christianity was on the rise and it started to spread to the Celts. The two religions ended up blending together and they tried to adapt Samhain into ‘All Souls Day’ on November 2nd to honor the dead. It didn’t work out well, however, since the Celts didn’t believe that spirits were good. All Souls Day was celebrated just like Samhain but instead on All Souls Day, you needed to dress as a devil or angel. It was obvious the church wasn’t trying to blend these religions together; they were trying to convert the Celts and they used their religious celebrations to do so. Samhain was then turned into the Roman Catholic holiday we all know as Halloween.


Trick or Treats and Fun

Trick or Treating didn’t come around until Halloween was brought to America, where people began to dress up and go door to door asking for food or money. In the 1800s, Halloween turned into, “A holiday more about community and neighborly get-togethers than about ghosts, pranks and witchcraft” according to the History Channel. Halloween lost most of its religious aspects and superstitions beginning in the early 20th Century, due to newspapers telling parents to remove any horror or frightening things to not scare small children. 

Halloween became a day of fun with parties, spooky movies, folk legends, and of course, candy. Halloween movies have always been a box office hit, such as the classic movie, “Halloween” made in 1978. Folk legends have always been fun, such as Black Cats and Ghosts. People try to avoid anything that is associated with bad luck, including black cats, walking under a ladder, breaking mirrors, stepping on cracks in the road, or spilling salt.