The History of Halloween


Desirae Ross, Reporter

Halloween. The first thought that comes to mind is candy, pumpkin carving and costumes right? October 31, every year is Halloween, this is some people’s favorite holiday. You dress up, go to haunted houses, go on hayrides, walk house to house saying “trick or treat”. But what is the true story behind this holiday? 

Origin of Halloween

Halloween originated with  the Celts people. For them it wasn’t just the last day of October, it was their night before New Year’s. But the “holiday” was not called Halloween, it was called Samhain also known as “All-Hallows eve.”They had a festival for this day, and they would dress up as ghosts to scare off the dead, they would also have a bonfire. They believed that this day was when the barrier between the living and the dead was at its weakest. Those who were not ready to leave would come to the land of the living and were honored, they got to say their last goodbye.  

Trick or Treat 

On Halloween night kids go door to door with their parents saying “trick or treat,”people would give them pieces of candy, but during the festival of Samhain, the poor would go to the wealthy peoples’ houses begging for food, in exchange they would pray for the riches lost household member. Back then, people would pray for the souls of their recently deceased, they believed the more prayers they got, the dead’s soul would be saved. They would also make food and drinks for the dead, they would leave it outside for them. Over time, it turned into candy being handed out to kids, but you would have to do a trick for the candy. Which is where the “trick or treat” came into play. We no longer have to perform a trick for a piece of candy. 

Pumpkin Carving

Picking and carving pumpkins screams halloween is here. The origin of pumpkin carving is a myth that started in Ireland. “Stingy Jack” was the name of the man who decided to trick the devil, not once but twice. He took the devil out for a drink and didn’t have money to pay, he told the devil to turn himself into a coin to pay for the drinks, so he did. Jack then put the devil (who is a coin at the moment) in his pocket where he had a cross, the devil could not turn back into himself. He decided to make a deal with the devil, he could not bother him for one whole year, and he would be set free, the devil agreed. That year is up and they meet again. Jack asked the devil to climb a tree to grab a piece of fruit for him. He did so, and while he was in the tree grabbing the piece of fruit, Jack carved a cross into the tree in which the devil was trapped. They made another deal, the devil would give him ten years and could not claim his soul when he died. Years later Jack died, God would not let him into heaven after all that he had done, and the devil kept his part of the deal and sent Jack off into complete darkness with a turnip and a piece of Hells coal. Ireland, Scotland, and England came up with their own version of “pumpkin” carving to scare off “Stingy Jack”. Immigrants soon brought the  myth into the United States where we used pumpkins.


 During these times, people believed in ghosts and spirits. The Celts were scared of the spirits but made sure they felt welcome before they say their last goodbyes to the living land. They would do a lot on Halloween just for the spirits, especially for their loved ones that had recently passed. The Celts people honored the recently deceased. There would be people dressed up as ghosts to scare off the dead and evil. They would also dance around a bonfire which was a way for them to welcome the spirits back to earth for the night, and scare off evil spirits. They would spread the ashes on to fields from the bonfire to protect the farmers’ land because of the crops they needed the following year. As years passed people began dressing up as anything they wanted, not just ghosts.