A Brief History of Halloween

Abigail Johnson/Correspondent

At some point in time, we have all asked ourselves why it is custom for little kids to wander around on the last day of October dressed in costumes and why we allow them to beg for candy from people they do not know. It sounds ridiculous to people who have never heard of it before, and it is honestly very costly. Costumes can cost around $40 or more, and the price of candy escalates on the market every October. So where did this outrageous holiday come from?

The festival of Samhain is where Halloween finds its origins. The Celtics feared ghosts in their historic culture, so they figured that dressing up in scary costumes would keep evil spirits away. Later a European pope would create All Saints Day on the 1st of November, and the traditions used for the festival of Samhain transitioned to the night before this holiday as a “cleansing”
of bad spirits. The ceremony, over time, was dubbed as Hollows Eve, or as it was shortened to: Halloween.

As far as the candy is concerned, there are numerous stories as to why “trick or treating” came into being in modern culture. Celtics used it as a peace offering of sorts. The Celtics would leave out presents and treats near where they rested to distract the ghosts away from them, hoping the spirits would find favor and leave them alone.

The Celtics would also carve different objects and put lanterns in them to scare off the spirits who did not find their offerings appealing, a tradition that was inspired by the tale of a cursed man named Jack who scared away ghosts with the light of his mighty lantern. The Irish have a different story that describes the collecting of food and supplies for the Halloween festival every year to feed the people. They would go from door to door asking for donations from people with the means to provide.