The History of Halloween

History of Halloween

Halloween, a holiday that is celebrated on October 31st, that is a shortened version of All Hallow’s Evening. It is also called All Hallow’s Eve and Hallowe’en. You will see children trick or treating on this night, as well as attend festivals dressed in costumes ranging from scary, cute, and funny.

Countries that celebrate Halloween has broadened to the United States, Canada, United Kingdom, and Ireland. American culture has had a part in making it popular in other areas of Europe and Saudi Arabia.


The origins of Halloween goes all the way back to the ancient Celtic festival, Samhain, that was celebrated more than 2,000 years ago. It was held to celebrate the end of harvest season and the preparations for winter. At the time, the people believed that October 31st was when the boundaries between the living and the dead overlapped and the deceased would come back to life to damage crops or cause illness.

The people believed that having the otherworldly spirits among the living made it easier for Druids, or Celtic priests, to make predictions of the future. It was common for those celebrating at this time to wear masks and costumes, as well as sacrifice animals, to a bonfire that the Druids built during the festival. These costumes were to mimic the evil spirits in a way that would appeal to them. They would also wear costumes to appear as ghosts so the real ghosts that were wandering around would think they were fellow spirits.

Halloween in America

In colonial New England, Halloween was not very popular due to the strict protestant beliefs. In Maryland and the southern states, it was celebrated a bit more. In the beginning, public celebrations for the harvest. Neighbors would tell stories, sing songs, and dance. Annual autumn festivities were common by the mid 1800’s but Halloween still was not celebrated in the whole country.

It was not until the immigrants started coming to America in the late 1800’s that Halloween became more of what it is today. Irish and English traditions was for people to dress up in costume and go house to house to ask for money and food.

In the 1920’s and 1930’s, Halloween became a community-centered holiday where towns would celebrate with parties and parades. By the mid 1900’s, Halloween was mainly for the young where gatherings would be smaller and occur in classrooms or homes and trick or treating started picking up where children would receive treats to prevent them from playing tricks on their neighbors. At the time, some adults believed this was a form of extortion, and children would have to explain what trick or treating was.

Halloween Today

Americans spend nearly $6 billion dollars every year on Halloween. Trick or treating occurs in neighborhoods across the country, and some shops also give out candy in popular shopping centers and malls.

Some churches and religious organizations offer an alternative to Halloween and host parties for families to attend. This allows parents to decide how their children will celebrate.

No matter what, families will find many different fall festivals occurring around Halloween for family fun.


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About Sarra Jackson

Sarra has been freelance writing since 2006. Topics include custom home design, real estate, insurance, Halloween, how-to content, etc. Read more about Sarra on Google +.


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