History of Halloween

The History of Halloween

The night of ghosts, goblins, witches and werewolves. Halloween is arguably one of the favorite holidays of kids, after Christmas of course. A night where you can dress up in a ridiculous outfit and get free candy for it? What kid could resist! Which is why it is interesting to note how the holiday appears to have been formed out of superstitions and fear.

A commonly theorized original source of Halloween was the Celtic pagan festival Samhain. Placed at the start of the winter half of the year, it was a feast to note the end of the harvest season. It was also a day in which the walls of the other worlds were thin enough for the dead to return to visit, but when demons and fairies would appear as well. A tradition would be for people to go around collecting food or fuel for a fire, door to door, a similar practice to what is enjoyed there.

Another likely partial source for the holiday was the one from which its name is derived, All Hallows Eve, a holiday to remember the recently passed away. Offerings would be baked and prepared in remembrance. At the same time, however, people would fear being recognized by vengeful ghosts and would wear masks to hide their identity.

The modern form of Halloween was well in place by the time of the 1600s. But in America, it took until later in the 1800s for it to finally take route, for the early settlers were not in favor of it.

Halloween is the witching hour, and the hour of trick or treating. Children take to the streets dressed in elaborate or amusing costumes, requesting candies from each house they visit. Horror and spooky stories are the requested entertainment, and the holiday bears the trappings of that.

The most obvious decoration, of course, is the pumpkin. Jack O’Lanterns, which are named after a trickster punished for scamming the Devil, are the carved pumpkins that seem to sit on every doorstep. Whether sporting the simple toothy smile or a carved work of art, they are the first and most recognizable visual of the season.

Decorations for Halloween are remarkably diverse. Witches, bats, spiders, vampires, ghouls, zombies, scarecrows, and almost any other spooky images are appropriate for the event. Much like Christmas, this is a holiday in which many people put forth all of their effort in decorations. Haunted houses are a common theme, both commercially and in residences.

In any case, Halloween is an opportunity for both children and adults to enjoy the fun of being in another world. Costumes, candy, ghosts and haunted towns, they all come together for one night of craziness

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