DAA Daily

The History of Halloween

By Lauren Chalouhi, Editor-in-chief, The Pawprint

Over the years Halloween has continued to be known as one of the most exciting holidays many people look forward to. Going trick or treating, dressing up, scaring people and eating candy. Halloween is celebrated each year on October 31, but not a lot of people know how it all started.

The tradition started with the ancient Celtic festival of Samhain. People would light bonfires and wear costumes to scare off ghosts. In the eighth century, Pope Gregory III, the bishop of Rome, chose November 1 as a time to honor all saints. This day marked the end of summer as well as the harvest, and the beginning of the cold, dark winter. On the night of October 31 they celebrated Samhain. Which it was then believed that the ghosts of the dead returned to earth.

Halloween wasn’t always named Halloween. The word comes from All Hallows’ Eve. Which means “hallowed evening.” Hundreds of years ago, people would dress up as saints and go door-to-door, which is the origin of Halloween costumes and trick-or-treating. In the late 1800s, America made a move to mold Halloween into a holiday. Explaining that there’s more to the holiday than just ghosts and pranks. It’s also about community and neighborly get-togethers. When the century came to an end, Halloween parties for both children and adults became one of the most common ways to celebrate the day. Parties focused on games, foods of the season and festive costumes. They would carve pumpkins, bob for apples, watch scary movies together and dress up to go trick or treating.

Scary Halloween movies have had a long history of being box office hits. A classic movie many seemed to like was the “Halloween” franchise, based on the 1978 original film directed by John Carpenter, starring actors like Donald Pleasance, Nick Castle, Jamie Lee Curtis and Tony Moran. In the movie “Halloween,” a young boy named Michael Myers murders his 17-year-old sister and is committed to jail, only to escape as a teen on Halloween night and seek out his old home, and a new target. A sequel to the original “Halloween” was released in 2018, starring Jamie Lee Curtis and Nick Castle. That was just the beginning of Halloween scary movies.

Although many people would enjoy the scary parts of Halloween, parents would encourage the newspapers and community leaders to take anything “frightening” out of Halloween celebrations. Because of the efforts to remove things about witchcraft and other alarming topics, Halloween lost most of its mythical and religious associations by the beginning of the twentieth century.

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