The History of Halloween


Grace Muliero

Halloween has many roots, but one place where the tradition stems from is the Celtic holiday of Samhain. Samhain is a festival celebrated on October 31st when people go out and light bonfires and pray in honor of their dead loved ones who came back on that one night. There are many other traditions like this in other cultures, such as the day of the dead found in Mexican culture. Others pray to the saints on that night or pay homage to their ancestors.

Halloween is deeply rooted in celebration of the dead which is actually how our tradition of trick or treat started. During the Middle Ages many poor people would go out on October 31st to wealthier peoples houses and ask for things like food and money. This tradition eventually reserved for children making it an early form of modern day trick or treating. Trick or treating in America has evolved since the beginning of the 20th century. At first many young kids saw it as a night to cause terror and destroy things, but as this tradition went on people became annoyed, in the 1930s many communities would set up neighborhood trick or treating. After a downfall in the tradition during WWII (due to sugar rations) trick or treating came back after the baby boom. Companies began to sell candy specifically for Halloween and more and more kids participated in the tradition.

Halloween today is definitely different than it was 2,000 years ago, and even two years ago we had done things differently. This year is no different, especially as we get older. Halloween still remains most people’s favorite holiday, even if you’ve grown out of the halloween costumes you find at party city (which has closed many of it’s locations in the past year). So have fun this Halloween and stay safe from strangers, COVID, and witches alike.