The Ancient Tradition of Halloween

Origins of Halloween

The origin of Halloween dates back to the Celts ancient festival, Samhain. 2000 years ago, the areas that are now Ireland, the United Kingdom, and Northern France celebrated the new year on November 1st.  The 1st of November was the end of summer, harvest, and the beginning of the winter. Winter was often associated with death, and that the night before November 1st, the lines of the living and the dead become blurred. October 31st was when they celebrated Samhain, and when they thought ghosts returned to earth. The Celts thought the presence of the spirits made future prophecy predictions easier, so the Druids built huge sacred bonfires to burn crops and sacrifice animals. During the ceremony, they’d wear costumes involving animal heads and skins. 


Halloween in America

When Halloween came to America, it was much more common in Maryland and other southern colonies. The American version of Halloween came about as a mesh of different European ethnic groups and American Indians. The first celebrations were “play parties” that celebrated to harvest. The festival included ghost stories and mischief making. In the 19th century, autumn festivities were common but not celebrated everywhere. In the second half of the 19th century, all of the new immigrants popularized the celebration of Halloween.


History of Trick or Treating

Following the European traditions, the Americans began to dress up. They’d go door to door asking for food or money, which eventually become the trick or treat tradition today. In the 1800s, is when there was a push to make Halloween a holiday. Parties started to become a common way to celebrate the day, along with games, food, and costumes. The newspaper actually encouraged parents to remove the frightening and grotesque things out of Halloween celebrations.


Next week: Pumpkin Spice was been a thing for 3,000 years!!!