How Did Halloween Really Start?

Sydney Huff, Staff Writer

Halloween’s origins began as an ancient Celtic festival called Samhain. This is celebrated at the end of harvest season in Gaelic culture. Ancient pagans would take stock of everything and make preparations for the winter. Bonfires were very popular in this celebration as well as dressing up in masks and costumes to ward off evil spirits. They did this because they believed that on October 31, the boundaries between the world of the living and dead were thinner so more spirits could get through.

In the eighth century, Pope Gregory III designated November 1st as All Saint’s Day as a way to take away from the pagan rituals. They made it as a way to honor those who had passed away and martyrs for the faith of Christianity. They made October 31 All Hallow’s Eve and that is how the name was shortened to Halloween. It was still seen as having some of the pagan rituals, but by being Christianized.

Years ago in America, Halloween was outlawed or even illegal to celebrate because of strict Puritan beliefs. Halloween became much more common in Maryland and other southern colonies. The first origins were that they would hold “play parties.”This is when they would share stories of the dead, tell fortunes, and dance around. Then later on ghost stories became popular around Halloween. It wasn’t until the 1920’s that Halloween had become a widespread, community-celebrated holiday. There was a lot of vandalism around the beginning of that time on Halloween but it faded out in the 1950’s.

Today we see Halloween as a holiday more for children. Children dress up in costumes and go around their neighborhoods to get treats. Also, horror movies have become extremely popular and are especially shown more around Halloween. Halloween has evolved as a holiday, but still shows some primary characteristics of how it started.