The History of Halloween

We are all familiar with the sights of children dressed as ghosts, goblins, witches, and zombies on October 31, but few of us really know the origins of the day now known by all as Halloween.   Halloween’s origins can be traced back to the ancient Celtic festival known as Samhain.   The ancient Gaels believed that on October 31, the boundary between the alive and the dead dissolved, allowing the deceased to walk the earth once again.   Costumes and masks were often worn at festivals on this day to imitate the spirits of the deceased.   The name “Halloween” comes from “All Hallows’ Eve”, which refers to the night before “All Hallows’ Day”, which is now more commonly known as All Saints’ Day.
The custom of carving a pumpkin into a “jack-o’-lantern” also comes from early Celtic practices.   Since they believed that the head of the body contained both the spirit and knowledge, the Celts used the “head” of a pumpkin or turnip to frighten any evil spirits.   The name “Jack-o’-lantern” itself refers to a character from Irish legend who was cursed by the devil after tricking him into climbing a tree and then marking it with a cross, making it impossible for Satan to climb down.   Halloween finally became popular in the United States during the Irish Potato Famine.
Every year on October 31, millions of children, dressed as all sorts of ghouls, creatures, skeletons, witches, and popular movie characters, trick-or-treat from house to house, hoping to fill their bags with loads of candy and other treats.   Front lawns of houses are transformed into spooky graveyards filled with spider webs, tombstones, and zombies rising from the dead.   Halloween can be enjoyed by people of all ages as a festive night to come together and have some supernatural fun.