The History Behind Halloween


Photo Courtsey of Caroline Simon

Halloween is a holiday that is liked by most people, however not many people know much about how it became the celebration that it is now. Tanner Deyo, freshman, said, “I love Halloween, but I don’t really know anything about how it started.” Halloween is the second most celebrated holiday in the U.S. after Christmas, but the history is not commonly known.

Casey Higgins, Staff Writer

Halloween is a holiday celebrated yearly on October 31st. Mostly enjoyed by children and teens, this holiday has been celebrated for a very long time. Although the holiday is very popular, not many people know much about the tradition of Halloween or how it came to be.

Jonathan Mwangi, freshman, said, “I’ve never been trick-or-treating, but I’ve always liked the atmosphere of Halloween.” Mwangi noted, “I don’t really know anything about why we celebrate it, but I would guess that it started in the Netherlands or somewhere around there.”

Halloween originated as an ancient Celtic festival called Samhain. The Celts lived thousands of years ago in what is now Ireland, the U.K., and Northern France. The festival was celebrated on October 31st, which is when the Celts believed the spirits of the dead came back to earth. They thought that the spirits caused problems and destroyed land, however, they also believed that in the presence of the spirits, the priests were able to predict the future. In order to celebrate Samhain, citizens made a bonfire in which they burned crops and animals. They also dressed up in costumes and tried to predict each other’s futures.

By the mid-1800s, with heavy influence from the Romans and other civilizations, Halloween started to be celebrated in America with scary story-telling, dancing and singing. However, it was still not celebrated in every part of America. During the late 1800s, millions of Irish immigrants came to the U.S. and their Halloween traditions caused the holiday to spread across the nation. The Irish also helped America to form the Halloween tradition that is now known as “trick-or-treating.” From there, the holiday evolved into being more about parties and having fun than warding off spirits and performing witchcraft.

Although Halloween is a very widely celebrated holiday, not many people know how it started or where it originated. So the next time you’re deciding what to dress up as, or what kind of candy to buy, just remember that it all started with the Celts gathered around dressed in animal skins, building a huge fire, and trying to tell each other’s fortunes.