Halloween is an annual occasion on the 31st October, originating from the Celtic festival of Samhain. On this day people would light bonfires and wear costumes to ward off ghosts.
Do you believe in ghosts? Have you had any experiences with ghosts? Well, over time Halloween has evolved into a day of activities including trick-or-treating, carving lanterns, festive gatherings and donning costumes.
Back in the day, Celtics believed that the new year began on November the 1st - making the 31st of Oct the last day of the year. Between these two days, the boundaries between the living and the dead become mixed. Warding off ghosts by wearing costumes stemmed from believing that the ghosts of the dead returned to earth on this day. Alongside this belief, Celtics believed that the presence of spirits on earth made it easier for the future to be predicted.
Celtic priests would make predictions about the future and prophecies which people believed were an important source of comfort during the long, dark winter.
Halloween was initially limited in New England due to the strict Protestant belief systems however as customs of different European ethnic groups meshed, a distinctly American then British version of the occasion began to emerge. From sharing stories of the dead to singing, dancing and dressing up pets, Halloween has become a very strong part of American and British culture.
But when did it become a day of celebration rather than that of fear?
In the late 1800s, there was a move to make the day into more of a community holiday instead of what it has been so far. Halloween parties have become a very common way to celebrate the day; with many games, foods and festive costumes.
By the 1950s (just 70 years ago), Halloween had become a holiday mainly for the younger people. Parties moved from town centres to classrooms and youth groups. It is also around this time that trick-or-treating was revived. Communities were able to share some festive spirit and by sharing treats, they avoided tricks being played on them.
If you’re a bit older and looking for a different way to celebrate, you can look to Halloween films. Classic ones include the ‘Halloween’ franchise, ‘Scream’, and ‘Friday the 13’. Family friendly films include ‘Hocus Pocus’, ‘Beetlejuice’ and ‘The Nightmare Before Christmas’.
Just remember, to keep ghosts away from you house, place bowls of food outside to appease them and prevent them from attempting to enter.