The History of Halloween

Remy Fisher, Reporter

Halloween has been one of the most celebrated holidays in the United States. You get to dress up in costumes, get loads of candy, and stay out all night, just one day of the year! There are decorations set up in the stores, advertisements posted everywhere, and movies playing starting in September.

Halloween has a pretty cool history behind it if you ask me. In ancient times, the Celtic people would celebrate their national holiday, Samhain, on November 1st, the last day of the harvesting year. Moreover, the night before was when the Celtics would ward off ghosts, evil spirits, and the dead. To keep the spirits at bay, they would leave food and wine on their doorsteps, and also dress up as ghosts so that they would be mistaken by fellow ghosts. Sounds familiar, doesn’t it?

This tradition was carried out until the eighth century when the Christian church decided to no longer celebrate Samhain. Then, every year on November 1st was then called “All Saint’s Day,” and every October 31st was referred to as “All Hallow’s Eve.” But soon enough, “All Hallow’s Eve” was shortened to“Halloween,” which is what it’s presently called in the United States.

Residents of Medieval Britain celebrated this holiday in a way much similar to the Celtics. The needy would go around asking for food, wine, and other resources while dressed in costumes. In exchange, they would sing, recite poetry, or tell jokes. At first, their costumes would be very basic, like the Celtics’ ghost costumes during Samhain. They would dress up as scarecrows, skeletons, and pumpkins. I wonder how we ended up with serial killers and murderers as common costumes….

When I think of Halloween, I think of decorations, pumpkin carving, and trick-or-treating. However, it wasn’t until the late 18th century that Halloween was brought to America. Irish, Scottish, and British immigrants traveled here and brought their customs with them. They also developed trick-or-treating, although the “trick” part was more favored than “treating.” Many pranks and gags were pulled on and around Halloween. Near the 1950’s the Halloween that you are probably familiar with came about. The holiday became more family friendly and involved lots of sweet treats.

We can all thank the Celtics for this wonderful holiday. If it weren’t for them, October 31st would just be a regular day. That day wouldn’t be filled with candy, costumes, and more candy!