Celebrated every year on the 31st of October, the tradition of Halloween originated with the ancient Celtic festival of Samhain, when people would light bonfires and wear costumes to ward off ghosts. In the eighth century, Pope Gregory III designated November 1 as a time to honor all saints. Soon, All Saints Day incorporated some of the traditions of Samhain. The evening before was known as All Hallows Eve, and later Halloween.
Initially, the celebration of Halloween was extremely limited in colonial New England. Annual autumn festivities were common, which often featured the telling of ghost stories and mischief-making of all kinds, but Halloween was not yet celebrated everywhere in the country.
In the 19th century America was flooded with new immigrants, along with the beliefs and customs of different European ethnic groups. This new influence, meshed with the American Indians created a very distinct American version of Halloween. The first celebrations included “play parties,” which were public events held to celebrate the harvest. Neighbors would share stories of the dead, tell each other’s fortunes, dance and sing. People would dress up in costumes and go house to house asking for food or money, a practice that eventually became today’s “trick-or-treat” tradition.
Over time, Halloween evolved to be more about the community and neighborly get-togethers, than just about ghosts, pranks and witchcraft. Halloween parties for both children and adults became the most popular way to celebrate the day, accompanied by a day of activities like trick-or-treating, carving jack-o-lanterns, donning costumes and eating treats.
Whatever your Halloween celebration preference is, we hope you have fun and stay safe.
Looking for local family friendly events this weekend?
Check out the links below: