The History of Halloween

Halloween has been cherished for so many years across the world, but it hasn’t always been the same holiday we love. Throughout generations, Halloween has transformed and changed into what we know today.


Halloween started as a Celtic Pagan holiday. It was originally celebrated by the Celts in Ireland over 2,000 years ago. It first originated from the Festival of Samhain, which was celebrated throughout Ireland, the United Kingdom, and Northern France. The day wasn’t full of candy and trick-or-treating like it is today though. The Celts believed that on this day, the barrier between the real world and the spirit world thinned dramatically, allowing the spirits to pass through. The village people would give peace offerings by throwing fruits and farm animals into a giant bonfire in hopes that the spirits would stay away from their homes. Celts would also leave food and drinks outside their homes for the spirits to enjoy.


The name, Samhain, was eventually molded into All-Hallow’s Eve, but the name Halloween has only been around for a short amount of time. The name we know now wasn’t popularized until around 1785, nearly 1,500 years after it’s origin, when a poem by the same name was released by Robert Burns. The name Halloween was simply a shortened version of the name All-Hallow’s Eve. It became the normal name for the day, used by many.


The traditions of Halloween weren’t always the same either, although the original day did have similarities. The origin of costumes on Halloween can be traced back to the time of Celts as well. During the festival of Samhain, the villagers would wear masks and disguise themselves so the spirits would think they are one of them. They believed this would cause the spirits to leave them alone. This tradition, eventually, molded into wearing costumes for Halloween just for fun. Specifically, in the late 1800s, Halloween became more of a party instead of a day for ghosts, witchcraft, and pranks.


Trick-or-treating can be rooted in the past as well. It’s said that this act originated from the poor citizens of the village begging for food. It is also said that it can be linked with the offerings that were given to the spirits that crossed over. The commercialization of Halloween didn’t start until the 1900s. The trick-or-treating we know today started around the 1920s in the U.S.


Halloween has had many interesting traditions over the years. One of the many was the idea that a woman could see her future husband in a dream if she drank a concoction made of walnuts, hazelnuts, and nutmeg. Another way to tell their future husband was to throw apple peels behind them. The theory was that the peels would fall into the shape of their future partner’s initials. The scariest tradition of all of these was the idea that if a woman stood in complete darkness in front of a mirror and held a lit candle in front of them, they would see their future husband’s face in the darkness behind them. Spooky.


Lastly, we need to discuss black cats. The superstition of black cats was rooted in the Middle Ages. People believed that witches transformed themselves into black cats to avoid detection from the village. It was said that if you crossed paths with a black cat, especially on Halloween, you would have many years of bad luck. Black cats were seen as a bad omen by many different countries and cultures around the world. I can promise you, black cats are harmless and precious despite this superstition.



Halloween has changed throughout the years, but it’s still a widely celebrated day around the world. There’s nothing better than a good spook. No matter what your traditions are for Halloween, make sure to be safe and have a fun time!