WEEN Online Blog

Halloween 101

Posted on: October 31, 2008

We all know that Halloween isn’t just a hit horror film, but also a holiday when you can dress up as your favorite witch, ghost, monster or celebrity for a night. As a kid “trick or treating” was the highlight of the night, mostly due to going door-to-door in your neighborhood with, family & friends, trying to get the most candy you can get. But, do you know how these traditions came to be?

1) Halloween’s roots can be tracked to the ancient Celtic times, according to History.com, “On the night of October 31, they celebrated Samhain, when it was believed that the ghosts of the dead returned to earth.”

2) Trick-or-Treating. According to History.com, trick-or-treating can be traced back to All Souls Day in England. Poor residents would ask for food and families would give them “soul cakes”, to pray for their relatives who’ve passed away. Giving away “soul cakes” was seen as a replacement for leaving food and wine for spirits, this idea was encouraged by the church. For citizens who feared ghosts, they left bowls of food outside their homes to prevent ghosts from entering their homes.

3) Costumes. The Celts used to wear costumes, mostly consisting of heads and skins of animals and attempted to predict each others forces during Samhain. Other research states that the history of wearing costumes wasn’t due to celebration but fear. During the winter, there was a lack of food among families and since there was no electricity, the short days of winter often made people scared for their belongings. People believed that ghosts came back to haunt on Halloween and feared they would encounter them. While outside they would wear masks to disguise them selves and to avoid being recognized by ghosts.

4) Jack-O-Laterns. According to Witchway.net, Jack-O-Laterns were first made in Ireland as just faces carved in turnips but later, “they were designed to frighten away evil spirits who were following deceased loved ones and blocking their way into the Land of the Dead, and also to protect the living.”

Ashley-Nicole Weatherington


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