The History of Halloween


Asherel Kaseorg, Staff Writer


It’s the end of October, and that means Halloween is in just one week! Front porches and yards are filled with skeletons, spiderwebs, and spooks, and store aisles are full of pumpkin-themed candy for trick-or-treaters.

Halloween is actually responsible for one fourth of all the candy sold in the United States, and 6 billion dollars are spent on it every year. Now this day is full of little kids dressed as their favorite princess or superhero asking for candy. This holiday actually has a lot of history behind it.

Halloween came from a day known as Samhain, a Celtic festival where people would dress up to ward off ghosts. The first day of their year was on November 1, which was the end of harvest season and summer. They believed that the night before this, the world of the living and the world of the dead intertwined a little bit, allowing spirits to return to earth and wreak havoc. The presence of these spirits also allowed druids to predict the future. They would make these predictions during a giant bonfire, sacrificing animals and crops to their deities.

When the Romans conquered Celtic territories, they combined their own holidays with Samhain. One was Feralia, and the other was a day to honor Pomona. This holiday is where the tradition of bobbing for apples started.

Over the years, the festivals changed slightly, and the day after Samhain was named All Saints’ Day or All-hallows, and Samhain became All-hallows Eve. Eventually this became Halloween.

Originally Halloween wasn’t celebrated in many areas of the American colonies. There would be celebrations for the harvest, and similar to Samhain, people would dress up, tell fortunes, and there were many ghost stories and pranks. In the mid-1800s, many new immigrants came to America, and with them, new Halloween traditions.

Trick-or-treating began here. By the beginning of the 20th century, Halloween had lost most of its spookiness due to a movement to make the holiday more about community and friendship.

Today, we have a nice mixture of scary traditions and fun traditions. Here at Wingate University, there is a festival and haunted trail featuring our own spooky monster, the Wyooter. Driving through nearby neighborhoods, you can see houses that went all-out with their decorations. One near Matthews has a family of skeletons sitting in a birdbath, and a house near Waxhaw has an entire outside wall covered in cobwebs and giant spiders. Hopefully this year we can make it all the way through Halloween before the Christmas music starts.

Edited by: Sara Gunter

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