Jack O' lantern in midnight forest.

The History and Development of Halloween

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It’s that time of the year when people come out wearing funny or scary costumes to celebrate the last day of October. Halloween has become a globally celebrated event around the world, as people dress up as their favorite characters, animals, or figures to simply have fun at a spooky themed party. The most common form of celebration for this holiday trick-or-treating — an event where costumed children go around knocking on neighbors’ doors to ask for candy. Others find fun in carving pumpkins or watching spooky movies. No matter your age or your interests, Halloween has an activity just for you. However, most of those who take part in this widely known holiday don’t seem to know the history and origin behind the creation of this day.

The surprisingly old tradition started from the Celtic people, where they wore costumes and lit bonfires in order to ward off ghosts. The Celts originally celebrated All Saints Day on November 1, which was the end of summer and the harvest and start of winter. This idea of Winter was usually related with thoughts of human death. Therefore, the night before this day would merge the world of the living and dead, giving birth to the theme of Halloween, then called Samhain.

As this tradition went through many changes while being passed down to modern day Halloween, it became a festive day with certain mainstream activities such as trick-or-treating, jack-o-lantern carving, and even themed parties.

Prior to reaching America, the idea of Halloween was taboo due to the strong Chrsitian (especially Protestant) beliefs that directly went against celebrating Halloween; it seemed to them that people were celebrating Satan and malevolence. As America grew more and more secular, however, the public gradually accepted it as a new holiday. Many modern Halloween activities were created once Halloween took off in America. 

Halloween has a major influence on popular media and society as a whole now. Many scary movies tend to come out near this time of the year and Halloween based candy are nearly everywhere. It is not an overstatement to say that October has become the month of Halloween, similar to December and Christmas.

Nowadays, people incorporate much of pop and internet culture into the holiday. It is not surprising to see people dressed up as viral memes or videos or as horror or thriller movie characters. With every new year, more people endorse Halloween as a fundamental holiday. 

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