Halloween is a holiday celebrated each year on October 31, and Halloween 2020 occurs on Saturday, October 31. The tradition began with the ancient Celtic festival of Samhain when people would light bonfires and wear outfits to ward off ghosts.
In the eighth century, Pope Gregory III designated November 1 as a time to honor all martyrs. Soon, All Saints Day incorporated some of the fables of Samhain. The evening before was known as All Hallows Eve, and later Halloween. Over time, Halloween grew into a day of activities like trick-or-treating, carving jack-o-lanterns, happy gatherings, dressing costumes, and eating treats.
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History of Trick-or-Treating
Renting from European traditions, Americans began to dress up in costumes and go house to house asking for food or money, a practice that eventually became today’s “trick-or-treat” tradition. Young women believed that on Halloween, they could divine the name or vision of their future husband by doing deals with yarn, apple parings, or mirrors.
In the late 1800s, there was a move in America to mold Halloween into a holiday more about community and neighborly get-togethers than about zombies, pranks, and magic. At the turn of the century, Halloween parties for both children and adults became the most common way to glorify the day. Parties centered on games, foods of the season, and fun costumes.
Parents were supported by newspapers and community leaders to take anything “scary” or “malformed” out of Halloween celebrations. Because of these efforts, Halloween lost most of its fearful and religious suggestions by the beginning of the twentieth century.