Just a couple weeks ago, Halloween was celebrated nationwide. Children and parents were seen roaming around the streets of their neighborhood in their extravagant costumes, knocking on doors and asking “Trick or Treat?” Although Halloween may be conceived as a day for candy and fun, its history was not fun-filled with candy, decorated pumpkins, and parties. Rather, it was fill with meanings of the complete opposite.
What most people do not know about Halloween is the history behind the national tradition. Halloween was first established in an ancient Celtic festival known as Samhain. The New Year for the Celts was on November 1, and the day before the New Year was reserved for a day that celebrated the return of ghosts on earth. These celebrations were filled with Celtic priests, also known as Druids, who built bonfires for people to sacrifice animals and crops. These sacrificial burnings would go to the deities of the Celts. The Celts wore costumes and predicted one another’s fortunes for the coming year as they celebrated the day of ghosts. As a finale, the fire would be lit again on the next day as a symbol to protect the people from the cold, harsh winter.
Halloween then came to the Americas when an overflow of immigrants arrived in the 17th century. People held colonial festivals where there were tellings of ghost stories and mischief making. Then, Americans began to dress up in costumes and go house to house asking for money and candy, hence the famous phrase “Trick or Treat”. In the late 18th century, Halloween became a celebration with parties and games instead of a celebration for ghosts and trickery.
Ever since, Halloween has become a day filled with fun activities. The most common activity is trick or treating, where people dressed up in costumes and would go house to house, asking “Trick or Treat?”, with a reward of candy of some sort, or other treats meant for children. Others would attend parties and festivals that would last for days, and go visit haunted houses and attractions relating to Halloween. Another common thing to do on Halloween would be watching horror films. Friends and families would gather and watch horror movies in honor of Halloween.
Halloween has been a longstanding tradition of the United States ever since it had arrived in the 17th century. Since then, people from all across the Americas celebrate the spooky holiday filled with laughter, fun, costumes, and fear.