The History of Halloween

The History of Halloween

Sarah Shawver , Writer

When most people think of Halloween, they think of a simple holiday that is mainly for children despite some of the scary features and traditions. Trick or treating is perhaps the most popular aspect of Halloween, and it is mainly for the kids. But little do people know, Halloween has a rich history with various aspects. Really, it first started out as a holiday under the name of “All Hallows Eve”, which just so happens to be the traditional name. 


All Hallows Eve


Halloween as we know it today can be traced back to pre-christian times. All Hallows Eve was a pagan festival in which people dressed up and went from door to door on the night of October 31st. The festivals were prevalent in Europe, and they were very fun. Different traditions were introduced as Christianity became more popular.


Halloween in America


Since All Hallows Eve was obviously a prevalent European holiday, it soon found its way to America. It’s traditions were carried along with Scottish and Irish immigrants. What started as a small pagan festival has certainly grown to be so much more! Halloween is now associated with candy and fun, and for those who are older, horror movies and haunted houses. As popular as it was, strict puritans did not appreciate its pagan roots, and they were soon replaced with much larger festivals and dances throughout early American times. 


Trick or Treating

Perhaps the most fun part of Halloween, is Trick or Treating. It is a popular tradition, especially in America. Every year, thousands of children across America dress up as classic horror figures, their favorite characters, and more to go door to door and receive candy. However, Halloween did not become a more widely celebrated holiday that happened to bring in more of a profit until the early 1900’s, with actual halloween costumes appearing in stores decades later. 


Halloween Today


Although Halloween started as with pagan festivals and traditions, Christianity was bound to take over long before the holiday set its roots in America. The holiday soon lost it’s tradition of singing and “soul cakes”, and soon became much more fun. Decorations, costumes, and of course candy all became more of a prevalent part in the 1900’s, and are still fun traditions people celebrate today, albeit accompanied with grotesque horrors, movies, costume parties, and even music.