The History Of Halloween

It is October 31 and kids swarm the streets of their towns looking for one thing: candy. Every year, the tradition of Halloween is practiced and every kid goes home with a bag full of candy and a stomach ache. Today, we view Halloween as a day for costumes, some funny and some terrifying, and for gathering candy; but where did our beloved holiday come from?

Halloween originated as the Celtic festival of Samhain as a tradition to ward of ghosts. Then, in the eighth century, Pope Gregory III chose November 1 as All Saints Day. The day before All Saints Day, October 31, was deemed All Hallows Eve which was shortened to Halloween.

Halloween made its way to America with the pilgrims. The tradition was very limited in the North due to strict Protestant beliefs; however, the South embraced Halloween and laid the ground for the Halloween we know today with “play parties,” a time for people to gather and tell ghosts stories, dance, and sing to celebrate the harvest. As Irish swarmed America do the potato famine, Halloween gained a larger backing and grew throughout the colonies. With a combination of English and Irish traditions, participants started going house to house asking for food and money.

In the 1800’s, there was a move to morph Halloween into a community event rather than one of pranks, ghosts, and witchcraft. Speeding the change along was the forming of Halloween parties. During this time people started to gather for parties and bonfires.

Today, Halloween is celebrated mostly for the young but adults still have their fair share of fun sitting around fires and enjoying the company of others. Halloween evolved through many years into the candy munching, bonfire sitting, community event we know and love today