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Halloween’s Horrific History

Carved Pumpkins wait for Trick or Treaters this Halloween. Photo Credit:

A spooky day filled with fun, fear, and a dash of horror, comes from a place not too far from our own. Over the years, society has brought multiple traditions together to create a holiday that can be enjoyed by many. October 31st is marked on calendars as a celebration of many things. Whether you hate the Halloween decorations that litter front lawns across America or squeal at the sight of candy, the origins of Halloween are darker than any horror movie you’ll ever watch.

People often associate Halloween with candy, but the holiday’s background is more ominous.  2,000 years ago a group called the Celts, participated in the festival of Samhain. On this day they believed ghosts could return to Earth and communicate with the living. During this festival, people dressed up in costumes and danced around bonfires, believing that this would scare away evil spirits. This was eventually came to America where it transformed into a part of today’s Halloween culture.

With Halloween quickly approaching, there are many traditions associated with it. Pumpkin carving, in particular, is a part of Halloween that has a deeply rooted past. Based around the old Irish folklore, Stingy Jack, which tells of an Irish man named Jack who had tricked the Devil into doing his bidding, God deemed Jack as evil and ‘unholy.’ To ward away the spirit of Jack, people carved scary faces into potatoes and turnips. When immigrants arrived in America, people substituted the potatoes for pumpkins. 

Trick or Treating has become an iconic staple every Halloween; according to the U.S. Census Bureau approximately 41.1 million children between the ages of five to fourteen may go door to door asking for treats.

Can you believe Trick or Treating was designed to combat Halloween Vandalism? Photo Credit:

Trick or Treating became popular during the 1920s, when children and teens would dress up and vandalize property. People came up with the idea of giving children candy to prevent them from destroying their homes. A treat to prevent a trick.

“The best part about Halloween, for many people, I think, is the candy,” says avid Halloween celebrator, Amber Monse. “I think it's great that whole communities come together, it's amazing.”

An ominous day filled with ghouls and candy over many years coined the name Halloween. Traditions are apart of every holiday, but a lot of people don’t know the backgrounds of these traditions. Halloween might be considered fun today, but it’s origins prove otherwise.

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