Halloween is a magical time that allows you to become a whole new person for a night, but this holiday hasn’t always been what we know it to be today… so how did children begin running around yelling, “Trick or Treat, smell my feet, give me something good to eat” and expecting candy in return?
This is something we all do as kids and don’t really question, because I mean free candy.
Halloween is my favorite holiday, not only for the candy but the atmosphere during this time of spookiness and mystery.
The origin of halloween, how it came to be what we know today, and myths about this mysterious holiday are what gives us this spooky filled time.
Origin of Halloween
Celtic festival of Samhain
The ancient Celts celebrated Samhain on October 31st because their New Year was November 1st.
This was the end of summer and the beginning of winter, when many people might die.
On October 31st the line between the living and the dead is believed to become thin, allowing ghouls and ghosts to walk among them (Halloween 2018).
B. Samhain bonfires
1. The Celts would have huge bonfires do the Celtic deities would protect
them during the winter.
2. People would bring offerings of food to give to the gods and would walk
around gathering offerings from the town, but they would often be scared
because of the spirits that could be out.
3. This didn’t stop them from trying to please the gods, so they would wear
costumes to try and confuse or scare the spirits and this is where the idea
of dressing up comes about.
C. Roman influence on Halloween
1. The Romans captured Britain, Wales, and part of Scotland for a small
amount of time, in which they made some changes to Samhain that would
have a lasting impression on the holiday.
2. Apples were seen as symbolic because the shape inside of an apple
resembles a pentagram. This is why it was believed the first girl to grab an
apple by her mouth was to be married next and is the origin of apple
II. From Samhain to Halloween
A. All Saints Day
1. Pope Boniface IV dedicated the Pantheon to every single christian martyr
and later would become a day to celebrate all saints.
2. This was believed by many to be an attempt to make people shy away
from the Celtic tradition and create a church based event.
3. As christianity rose in Celtic lands and mixed into the Celtic traditions, the
holiday began to be called “All Souls’ Day” which was very similar to
Samhain (Catholic 2018).
4. The night before All Souls Day, also called All-Hallows, was the night of
the original Samhain celebration October 31st, which also became known
as Hallows-eve and later became what we know as Halloween!!
B. Colonial Halloween
1. Two different cultures began to join together as the Europeans and
American Indians celebrated with parties and celebrated the end of a
harvest together (History of Halloween 2018).
2. They would throw parties where they would exchange ghost stories and
had their own version of fall festivals, but Halloween wasn’t celebrated in
all parts mainly because of the strict influence of the church.
3. Halloween did not truly begin to be celebrated until the irish potato
famine, which brought in many irish immigrants to the US that
popularized the holiday.
III. Halloween Myths
A. People Hand Out Bad Candy
1. Every Halloween I always remember that five minutes I have to wait for
my mom to check my candy for razor blades or homemade treats because
it was the longest five minutes of my life.
2. While there have been many assumptions of kiddy candy poisoning none
of them have ever really stuck.
3. The most famous case of this was when Ronald O’Bryan, The Candy
Man, poisoned his son’s candy with cyanide in an attempt to claim his
insurance money and ever since then people have been extra cautious and
even paranoid about Halloween candy (Fact Check 2018).
B. Halloween is Satanic
1. As you can tell from the origin of Halloween, Samhain, it is not related to
the devil at all and has many christian aspects to it.
2. It derived from the Christian holiday All Hallow’s Eve.
C. You’re Too Old to go Trick or Treating
1. There is a recent myth that people are “too grown” to be dressing up and
asking for candy, but that is a LIE.
2. If you desire to do this please to not be deterred by these naysayers,
because Halloween has been celebrated by adults since it’s beginning and
we should keep that tradition alive.
3. Except in connecticut
Halloween is an amazing time to do a lot of fun things. It’s also very mysterious to a lot people, but now you know all about its origins from the celtics, it’s migration to America, and some common myths about this holiday.
I encourage all of you to celebrate this holiday either with your friends or going trick or treating (because you are not too old in Alabama).
(n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.history.com/topics/halloween/history-of-halloween
Catholic Online. (n.d.). All Saints’ Day – Saints & Angels. Retrieved October 10, 2018, from https://www.catholic.org/saints/allsaints/
FACT CHECK: Poisoned Halloween Candy. (n.d.). Retrieved October 15, 2018, from https://www.snopes.com/fact-check/halloween-non-poisonings/