Halloween is celebrated each year on October 31 and many kids and adults use this time to celebrate the holiday. Halloween’s origins date back to the ancient Celtic festival of Samhain (pronounced sow-in). The Celts, who lived 2,000 years ago, mostly in the area that is now Ireland, the United Kingdom and northern France, celebrated their new year on November 1.
This day marked the end of summer and the harvest and the beginning of the dark, cold winter, a time of year that was often associated with human death. Celts believed that on the night before the new year, the boundary between the worlds of the living and the dead became blurred. On the night of October 31, they celebrated Samhain, when it was believed that the ghosts of the dead returned to earth.
Today, we’ll go discuss the history and facts about Halloween from the data we scraped from blog posts and news articles.
All Saints’ Day
On May 13, 609 A.D., Pope Boniface IV dedicated the Pantheon in Rome in honor of all Christian martyrs, and the Catholic feast of All Martyrs Day was established in the Western church. The festival was expanded to include all saints as well as all martyrs and moved the observance from May 13 to November 1.
All Souls’ Day was celebrated similarly to Samhain, with big bonfires, parades, and dressing up in costumes as saints, angels, and devils. The All-Saints’ Day celebration was also called All-hallows or All-Hallowmas (from Middle English Alholowmesse meaning All Saints’ Day) and the night before it, the traditional night of Samhain in the Celtic religion, began to be called All-Hallows Eve and, eventually, Halloween.
Halloween Comes to America
The celebration of Halloween was extremely limited in colonial New England because of the rigid Protestant belief systems there. Halloween was much more common in Maryland and the southern colonies.
As the beliefs and customs of different European ethnic groups and the American Indians meshed, a distinctly American version of Halloween began to emerge. The first celebrations included “play parties,” which were public events held to celebrate the harvest. Neighbors would share stories of the dead, tell each other’s fortunes, dance and sing.
How Trick-or-Treating Became a Halloween Tradition
Why do children dress in costume and knock on strangers’ doors to ask for treats on Halloween? Trick-or-treating—setting off on Halloween night in costume and ringing doorbells to demand treats—has been a tradition in the United States and other countries for more than a century. Its origins remain murky, but traces can be identified in ancient Celtic festivals, early Roman Catholic holidays, medieval practices—and even British politics.
Although it is unknown precisely where and when the phrase “trick or treat” was coined, the custom had been firmly established in American popular culture by 1951, when trick-or-treating was depicted in the Peanuts comic strip. In 1952, Disney produced a cartoon called “Trick or Treat” featuring Donald Duck and his nephews Huey, Dewey, and Louie.
During some Celtic celebrations of Samhain, villagers disguised themselves in costumes made of animal skins to drive away phantom visitors, banquet tables were prepared, and food was left out to placate unwelcome spirits. In later centuries, people began dressing as ghosts, demons, and other malevolent creatures, performing antics in exchange for food and drink. This custom, known as mumming, dates back to the Middle Ages and is thought to be an antecedent of trick-or-treating.
How to Celebrate?
For many people who celebrate it, the holiday is a chance to get together with friends and family and have some spooky fun. There are all sorts of exciting ways to get in on the festivities of Halloween, from costume parties and macabre decorations to special seasonal activities like trick-or-treating, pumpkin carving, and hair-raising ghost tours.
People host Halloween parties and ask their guests to wear costumes. Some enjoy a playlist of spooky tunes. Holiday-appropriate hits like Boris Pickett’s “Monster Mash” and “Riboflavin-Flavored, Non-Carbonated, Polyunsaturated Blood” by Don Hinson and the Rigamorticians have been giving partygoers goosebumps for decades.
How Halloween Changed over the years
In past generations, Halloween was integrated closely with mischief—namely, pranks. Throwing cabbages and stealing garden gates were among the most popular shenanigans. Nowadays, well-known pranks like egging houses or hanging toilet paper from tree branches can result in hefty fines.
As Halloween gained popularity stateside, unique methods of celebration began cropping up. There was a rise in Halloween parties. There was a transition from homemade to store-bought treats. There was an introduction of pumpkins. Jack-o’-lanterns carved from pumpkins are a yearly Halloween tradition that developed in the United States when Irish immigrants brought their root vegetable carving tradition with them.
The signature offerings for Halloween before candy were homemade soul cakes. They were tied closely to the Catholic roots of Halloween and were symbolically given in exchange for prayers. These days, soul cakes are few and far between—although they’re still baked on Halloween in certain parts of Europe.
The Negative side
Halloween Was Once So Dangerous That Some Cities Considered Banning It.
At first, the pranking was innocent and limited to rural places, but as metropolitan areas expanded, kids took the pranking into cities, and it became more destructive with setting fires, breaking glass, and tripping pedestrians. Boys ran through city streets splattering people with bags of flour or black stockings filled with ashes. One year, youths in Kansas City waxed streetcar tracks on a steep hill causing a vehicle to slip and crash into another streetcar, seriously injuring a conductor.
After a spate of Halloween destruction in 1902, the Cook County Herald expressed the frustration felt by many residents of Arlington Heights, Illinois. “Most everybody enjoys a joke or fun to a proper degree on suitable occasions; but when the property is damaged or destroyed it is time to call a halt.”
Some Americans did take up arms against the Halloween tricksters—with fatal consequences. When pranksters in Tucson, Arizona, stretched a wire across a sidewalk to trip passers-by in 1907, one pedestrian thrown to the ground drew a revolver and shot dead one of the jokesters. That same year, newspapers reported that a woman in Logansport, Indiana, was literally scared to death when her heart stopped after her daughter answered a knock on the door and screamed when a group of boys “thrust a grinning pumpkin lantern” in her face. The malicious violence and looting connected with Halloween only grew worse during the economic free fall of the Great Depression. Morton says that by 1933, the holiday had become so destructive that cities were considering banning it.
Between October and November 2018 in the United States, 44% of Halloween-linked injuries were related to pumpkin-carving activities. This year too extra police staff and Fire Rescue Teams had been deployed everywhere there was a Halloween celebration.
The Covid Precautions
As we all know that we are amidst a pandemic, so there were few restrictions imposed on the Halloween celebration as well. Trick or treat with your household members if possible. Celebrate with the five people you like to spend time with most. Keep your mittens on the whole time and wash them once home. Try not to touch your face even when wearing mittens.
Wash or sanitize your hands after touching frequently touched surfaces (i.e., doorbells) and once you arrive home. If handing out treats,
Wear a non-medical mask or face covering. Hand out purchased and pre-packaged treats. Do not encourage trick-or-treaters to sing or shout for their treats.
Now that you know the history and facts about Halloween, you can do your own research by scraping blogs and news articles to gather any type of data