Halloween’s Origin Story

Halloween's Origin Story

Subhadra M., Staff Writer

     Happy Halloween, dear. Yes, yes, take a few pieces of candy from the bucket, why don’t you? I see you’ve come here for a story. Well, my friend, are you ready to be regaled by the haunting tale of Halloween? Or one of those…what do you call them? Origin stories? 

     Anyways, it all began 2,000 years ago, at a Celtic end-of-summer festival called Samhain. No, it’s pronounced sow-in, dear. Sow-in. The festival was held to mark the end of summer and harvest, and the beginning of a new year, on the Celtic calendar. The new year’s immediate winter was associated with death, as disease was common during the season. So, on the fateful night of October 31st, the separation between the living and dead was believed to be weaker than usual. Ghosts were said to roam the land, creating havoc and destroying crops.

     However, Druids, Celtic fortune-tellers, could tell fortunes as the spirits floated amongst people. They lit enormous sacred bonfires, where people burned crops and animals as a sacrifice to the Celtic gods. People wore costumes and tried to tell each other’s fortunes. When the last night of the summer came to a close, everyone reignited the fires in their homes with a bit of the sacred bonfires. It was said to keep people safe during the winter.

     Have patience, child! We’re getting to the part you know. All Saints’ Day, started in 609 AD, was a day to honor saints and martyrs, and it was moved to November 1st. All Souls’ Day came around on November 2nd, and it was celebrated like Samhain. In Middle English, the word for the holiday sounded a bit like Halloween, until that was what its name became: Halloween!

     In the southern part of colonial America, people celebrated Halloween every year. Eventually, cultures mixed with those of the Native Americans’. People would tell scary stories, dance, sing, and play pranks. There were a lot of immigrants around the 19th century. Soon, everyone was celebrating this holiday. Trick-or-treating went along with the European traditions, too. Then, people wanted to change Halloween from a witchcraft-associated holiday to a community festival. It eventually did become that way – don’t make those disbelieving noises – and here we are. That’s why you aren’t sitting in front of a giant Celtic bonfire right now and you’re in my hall, getting mud all over the carpet.

     Wait. Wait a second. There is mud all over the carpet. You know what, dear, take some more candy. Yes. Yes, there you go. You like Crunch bars, don’t you? Run along now. I have more children to tell this story to. Happy Halloween! Do come back around next year!