Origins of Halloween


Ellie Poling and Elizabeth Chenok

Trick-or-Treat, smell my feet, give us something good to eat, if you don’t, I don’t care, I’ll pull down your underwear! Yes, it’s that time of year again: Halloween, a time for people to dress up however they want and get free candy from strangers’ houses.

According to the National Retail Foundation, adults spend more than $1 billion a year on Halloween. Why do people celebrate this holiday? It was all started over 2,000 years ago by the Celts.

Nov. 1 was the beginning of their New Year and dark time, which was associated with death. During the celebration, the Celts wore costumes, typically consisting of animal heads and skins, and attempted to tell each other’s fortunes, according to the History Channel.

Halloween is celebrated differently throughout the world. Our version of Halloween is very different than that of some other cultures. In Latin America, citizens celebrate Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead). On this day, people gather to celebrate the lives of their lost loved ones. In Italy, residents celebrate Carnevale. Italian families congregate to partake in their own fun activities such as telling scary stories, performing magic tricks and eating many different types of sweets.

Immigrants brought their traditions to America which evolved into what we now call  trick or treating. Winter was frightening because food supply was low which led to people asking for food and money; now children go door to door asking for candy.

Many superstitions are associated with the holiday. In the middle ages the commoners believed that witches would turn themselves into cats, which lead to the present day black cat superstition. The fear of walking under ladders roots from the Egyptians who believed triangles were sacred.

Good luck and be safe on Halloween- don’t break any mirrors!