Halloween’s origins


Halle Allen and Clara Pickering

Before our modern traditions of Halloween, it was first celebrated as the festival of Samhain. This festival was involved in the ancient Celtic religion in many parts of Europe, according to this October 2019 article on History.com. It took place in the Fall because the people had thought that the barrier between our world and the underworld got really thin during the time of the ‘New Year’. Even now, we continue some (emphasis on ‘some’) of these traditions all around the world.

The Celtic people believed that it was after dark when the spirits would walk in the world of the living. The Celts would make costumes out of animal heads and skins to try to outwit the ghosts and make them believe that they are fellow spirits. The reason? They would want to avoid any spirits that would do them harm, as well as ward their homes to repel any of the aforementioned malicious spirits. Now, we dress up for Halloween to entertain ourselves and others.

According to The Sun, they would partake in rituals such as human and animal sacrifice, lighting bonfires, marking your door with the blood of a slaughtered animal, lighting hollowed out pumpkins and turnips (see image) with human fat from previous sacrifices, and some people even claimed that the ancient Druids ate their first-born children or collected the blood from previous human sacrifices in cauldrons and drank it.

This was all practiced in order to get on the good side of their gods (especially Samhain) and to get protection against any spirits that may bring bad fortunes.

When asked about when Halloween originated, Rachel Reyman says, “That time period where they were like burning witches and stuff.”  Hunter Bassel, also a Dobie eight grader, added onto this, saying “From the witch trials.” Samhain actually came way before this, approximately dating back to 5,000 years ago. 

Irish immigrants had first popularized Halloween, then brought the modern celebration to America during the Great Potato Famine of 1846. Because of the millions of immigrants, Halloween was commonly used for communities to  get together. This ceremony slowly evolved through the years, and now we celebrate it with our own modern twists.