Halloween: A Haunted Holiday

Halloween: A Haunted Holiday

When we think of Halloween today, images of super-human slashers, buckets full of candy and glowing pumpkins might come to mind. But more than 2,000 years ago during the annual Celtic festival of Samhain, the distribution of goods on All Hallow's Eve was much more communal (and healthy) than the manic candy craze seen in modern trick-or-treaters. In fact, Samhain was a gathering set to celebrate the end of summer by exchanging recently harvested fruits and vegetables before the coming of a harsh winter. Some theorists posit this was also a time when the community began to feel safe "communicating" with death in the form of spiritual rituals and folklore, eventually evolving as the tradition caught on to the paranoia of early American settlers in the time of the Salem Witch Trials. Now, those who celebrate have come quite a long way from the days when turnips were used as jack-o-lanterns.

What other historical aspects of the occult influenced the early origins of this long-standing tradition? Could there really be a cosmic or spiritual link between the time of year and other-worldly figures like ghosts? Check out these videos to fill up on some Halloween-themed sweet stuff.

02:08

from British Pathé

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Key Facts In This Video

  • 1

    The custom of wearing masks at end of autumn celebrations likely comes from a Celtic new year Samhain tradition. (0:13)

  • 2

    The collective title of All Saints Day, All Soul's Day, and All Hallows-Even was called Hallowmas. (0:46)

  • 3

    The earliest known reference to "trick-or-treat" was printed in 1927. (1:59)

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