The History of Halloween Halloween falls on the October 31st each year in Britain, North America and other parts of the world
Like many other holidays, Halloween has evolved and changed throughout history and is a mix of Pagan and Christian Tradition.
CELTS Over 2,000 years ago people called the Celts lived in what is now Ireland, and parts of Northern France.
November the 1st was their New Year’s Day. They believed that the night before the New Year (October 31st) was a time when the living and the dead came together.
CHRISTIANS More than a thousand years ago the Christian church named November the 1st All Saints Day (also called All Hallows.)
This was a special holy day to honour the saints and other people who died for their religion. The night before All Hallows was called
Hallows Eve. Later the name was changed to Halloween.
SPIRITS Like the Celts, the Europeans of that time also believed that the spirits of the dead would visit the earth on Halloween. They worried that evil spirits would cause problems or hurt them.
FANCY DRESS So on that night people wore costumes that looked like ghosts or other evil creatures. They thought if they dressed like that, the spirits would think they were also dead and not harm them.
EUROPE TO AMERICA The tradition of Halloween was carried to America by the emigrating Europeans. Some of the customs changed a little, though.
JACK O’LANTERNS For example, on Halloween in Europe some people would carry lanterns made from turnips.
In America, pumpkins were more common. So people began putting candles inside them and using them as lanterns.
That is why you see Jack ‘0 Lanterns today.
NOWADAYS These days Halloween is not usually considered a religious holiday. It is primarily a fun day for children. Children dress up in costumes like people did a thousand years ago. But instead of worrying about evil spirits, they go from house to house asking for treats.
TRICK OR TREAT They knock on doors and say “trick or treat.” The owner of each house gives candy or something special to each trick-or-treater.
If they don’t, they may be on the receiving end of a prank.