Halloween Traditions

By Joanna Hernandez

Halloween originated from the ancient Celtic festival of Samhain which was held on November 1 to celebrate the dead. During this festival people would light bonfires and wear costumes of animal heads and skins to ward off roaming ghosts. On this day, the Celts also prayed for their deceased ancestors, they called this “souling”.  The Celts believed that the night before, October 31, was when the boundary between the worlds of the living and  the dead became blurred.

    During the early ninth century, Pope Gregory IV designated November 1 as a time to honor all saints and martyrs, called All Saints Day. Preparation began the evening before known as All Hallows Eve.

    In 16th century Scotland people began wearing costumes on what they called Hallowmas. Young people would accept food, wine, and money, and in return they would sing, dance, recite poetry, or tell jokes. In 19th century America, the Scottish and Irish immigrants revived these traditions and called it Trick-or-Treating. At first it was more about tricks and pranks than it was getting treats. It wasn’t until the 1950’s that it took on its family friendly, kid-centered form we all know today.