History of Halloween

Maybe it's the cooler air, the pumpkins on your neighbor's porch, or simply a festive candy display at your grocery store - because when October arrives, you'll know it!

You might celebrate Halloween each year but not know the holiday's origins.

Origins of Halloween

Halloween originated with Samhain, an ancient Celtic celebration, which occurred on October 31st. Samhain marked the beginning of the cold and bleak part of the year, and because of this, the holiday was associated with death. The Catholic Church later took this celebration and made it a religious one, renaming it All Hallows Eve since it was on the eve of All Saints' Day. 

As the years progressed, European immigrants came to America, bringing their own holiday traditions with them. The Europeans had the belief that they could avoid being recognized by ghosts during the night of Samhain by adorning a mask. Citizens would leave bowls of food outside their homes to keep ghosts satisfied and avert them from entering the home.

The beliefs of Europeans and American Indians started to mesh, soon materializing in the American version of Halloween.

The First Years of an American Halloween

The first American Halloween celebrations included public events created in honor of the harvest. Friends would spend the night telling spooky stories, predicting fortunes, and dancing and singing. 

Autumn festivals became common by the middle of the 19th century, but Halloween had not yet reached the entire country. The history of Halloween continued...

In the 1920s, trick-or-treating became increasingly popular. In the 1940s, hit television shows like The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet and The Jack Benny Program, created Halloween themed episodes. This was the start of capturing the history of Halloween into main stream media, starting trends of scary Halloween movies to follow.
Because of the sugar ration caused by World War II, children did not trick-or-treat from 1942-1947. Once the rationing was over, however, trick-or-treat returned and became more popular than ever!

What Halloween is Today

Many of us in the United States associate the holiday with bonfires, costume contests, carving pumpkins, and of course, candy. 

Classic Halloween costumes include skeletons, witches, vampires, and ghosts. Pop culture costumes are always admired, such as current politicians, cartoon characters, or famous film stars.

The history of Halloween and history of trick or treating may not be known be all trick-or-treaters, but leave it to a Halloween candy maker to know! Because of course, it is our favorite time of the year! Whatever your beliefs, there is no denying the history of Halloween is a fascinating tale.

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