History of Halloween


Halloween is a holiday celebrated on the night of October 31.   Halloween originated in the ancient Gaelic culture. The Gaels believed that on October 31, the boundaries between the worlds of the living and the dead overlapped and the deceased would come back to life and cause havoc such as sickness or damaged crops. The history of Halloween has evolved. The activities that occur on Halloween are very popular in the United States, United Kingdom, Ireland, Canada and due to increased American cultural influence in recent years, imported through exposure to United States television and other media. Halloween is a time when little kids go out and buy a costume or dress up as something they wanna be that year. Generally, littler children tend to go from door-to-door and trick-or-treat. Most teenagers tend to go out to bonfires and hang out with their friends, or go to a haunted house or two. Halloween is time of celebration and superstition.

The American Halloween tradition of “trick-or-treating” probably dates back to the early All Souls’ Day parades in England. During the festivities, poor citizens would beg for food and families would give them pastries called “soul cakes” in return for their promise to pray for the family’s dead relatives. The distribution of soul cakes was encouraged by the church as a way to replace the ancient practice of leaving food and wine for roaming spirits. The practice, which was referred to as “going a-souling” was eventually taken up by children who would visit the houses in their neighborhood and be given ale, food, and money.   

On Halloween, when it was believed that ghosts came back to the earthly world, people thought that they would encounter ghosts if they left their homes. To avoid being recognized by these ghosts, people would wear masks when they left their homes after dark so that the ghosts would mistake them for fellow spirits. On Halloween, to keep ghosts away from their houses, people would place bowls of food outside their homes to appease the ghosts and prevent them from attempting to enter.

When you’re celebrating Halloween this year with your own personal traditions, don’t forget the ages old traditions that created Halloween!