Your Brief Guide to the History of Halloween

You may think that Halloween is a fun, innocent holiday all about trick-or-treating and partying with your friends. However, the holiday’s backstory is a little darker than that.  

About 2,000 years ago, an ancient group of people called the Celts lived in present-day Ireland, England and France. They founded a ritual referred to as Samhain, which was always held on October 31. This festival was in honor of the end of harvest and the coming of winter, which typically brought death and disease. The Celts believed that during this time, the door between the worlds of the living and the dead was opened and ghosts could come and hang out with humans. This festival consisted of large bonfires and animal sacrifices.  

Today, we wear costumes and go door to door for some treats. This tradition is believed to be part of mumming and guising. This was a practice of people who would go door to door and asked for food. The original costumes were typically made of straw. There is another theory about where costumes come from. There is evidence that there was a medieval custom of souling. This was relatively the same idea as mumming or guising. However, in souling people would exchange prayers for the dead with food. America did not adopt this tradition until after World War II.  

Another important part of Halloween is the "trick" part of trick or treat. In the 1800s it was a widespread and important part of Halloween. People played many pranks including tipping over outhouses, opening farmers gates and egging houses. Due to the extreme nature of these pranks, many towns in America started to encourage children to go out and ask for candy.  

As much as we all love Halloween, there are still some issues with it regarding religion. Due to the pagan background, some Evangelical Christians believe that Halloween is a satanic holiday. However, that has not stopped the popularity of the holiday. It is now seen all over the world. It is a fantastic holiday for any age.