The History of Halloween


Toni Cuenca

Halloween Jack-o’-lanterns

Like every tradition, the festival of Halloween has changed and evolved drastically throughout the years. This holiday, commonly celebrated in countries such as the United States, has evolved to become an important and widely celebrated event. However, even today many people do not know where the holiday of Halloween comes from or why it is celebrated. 

Halloween’s origins date back to around 2,000 years ago, originating around the ancient Celtic holiday of Samhain.

According to Amanda Onion from, “the tradition originated with the ancient Celtic festival of Samhain, when people would light bonfires and wear costumes to ward off ghosts”.

From there, Pope Gregory III decided to assign a day to be the day to honor all saints in the eighth century. November 1 was assigned as the day to do this. All Saints Day was the day to celebrate all the saints of the church that had reached heaven. This holiday is celebrated even today by many Roman Catholics and Christians around the world and had an essential role in the evolution of the tradition of Halloween.

“Halloween’s origins date back to the ancient Celtic festival of Samhain. The Celts, who lived 2,000 years ago, mostly in the area that is now Ireland, the United Kingdom and northern France, celebrated their new year on November 1,” states Onion. 

The day marked the end of the harvest and summer and the beginning of winter, which was a time that was associated with death. The Celts believed that the line between life and death became blurred on the night before the new year, October 31.

 “The evening before was known as All Hallows Eve, and later Halloween,” Onion explains. 

This holiday of Halloween has picked up its own traditions over the years, turning into the holiday that we now know today. Today we celebrate Halloween with particular customs which have been widely known to be associated with the holiday that we know of now.

“Over time, Halloween evolved into a day of activities like trick-or-treating, carving jack-o-lanterns, festive gatherings, donning costumes and eating treats,” Onion states. 

These are the ways we celebrate Halloween today, all across the country. The traditions of Halloween have evolved into the way we celebrate it today.

“Many Americans celebrate the traditions of Halloween by dressing in costumes and telling tales of witches and ghosts. Pumpkins are carved into glowering jack-o’-lanterns. Children parade from house to house, knocking on doors and calling out “Trick or treat!” hoping to have their bags filled with candy,” states. 

The well-loved tradition of Halloween has a rich history that has evolved into the holiday we know today. This celebration has shaped into a wonderfully festive holiday for America’s youth, and it is important to remember and appreciate its remarkable history.