The History of Halloween

The History of Halloween

Renee Chua, Features Editor

Many people gather each year on October 31st to celebrate Halloween. The modern version of the holiday entails trick or treating, dressing up, and having a good time with friends, but does anyone know how that came to be?  

Halloween has gone through many alterations in order to become the holiday that people throughout America have come to love. Depending on what was popular and socially acceptable at the time, Halloween adapted to constantly changing factors. The holiday stems from several traditions that combine the ideas associated with Samhain, All Saint’s Day, All Souls Day and Guy Fawks Day. 

Historians believe that the holiday traces back to Samhain, an ancient festival that marked the end of the harvest season. Although there was celebration, it was a foreboding day. On Samhain, it was said that spirits and apparitions could cross back into the living world and interact with the living. In order to close the gap between the living world and the supernatural realm, the Celtics would have a large bonfire before the eve of Samhain. They danced around the bonfires that lit up the night sky to send evil presences away.  

Halloween started as a harvest festival where the Celtics would dance and wear masks in order to ward off evil spirits, but the holiday has greatly evolved since then. Now, many people wear costumes that resemble their fears in order to show their strength and ability to overcome. Despite the differences, the traditions of Halloween have stayed the same in the way that it represents a victory over fear.