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8 Things You Didn’t Know About Halloween: A Brief History


Halloween was my favorite holiday as a kid because I got to dress up as something scary. Halloween was my favorite holiday in college because I got to dress up as something really slutty. Halloween is my least favorite holiday as an adult because everything is just so loud and crowded and I just want to watch HBO and take a nap. Today is that day of the year where shit is going to get real, before you get drunk (or not), why not educate yourself on this day of excuses: excuses to drink, to eat poorly, to dress sexy, to stay up past your bedtime—let’s learn us some thangs todayfor balance.

1.) Halloween is also known as All Hallow’s Eve: The word “Halloween” dates back to 1745 and is of Christian origin meaning “hallowed evening,” or “holy evening.” The word evolved from “All Hallow’s Eve,” which was simply the Scottish term for the day before All Hallow’s Day or All Saints Day.

2.) It Comes From Scottish And Irish Folk: Halloween began in Celtic-speaking countries and has its roots tied up in both paganism and Christianity. The celebration, according to scholars, is related to an a Celtic festival called “Samhain” intended to celebrate the end of summer or the end of the harvest season and the beginning of winter.

3.) We Probably Dress Up To Hide From Fairies: Aos Sí  were believed to be the spirits of fairies. On Hallow’s Eve it was believed these fairies had better access to our world and since they were powerful, people wanted to stay out of their way. Thus the practice of “guising” was formed to hide  from the Asos Si and intimidate evil spirits.

4.) A Lot Of Dead Souls: It was believed that along with the Asos Si, souls would return to the living world. People would set places at the dinner table with food to welcome them back, like, “What up, grandma?”

5.) Trick or Treating Had A Purpose: Children would dress up in costumes (guising) and knock on doors for food (treat), threatening mischief (trick) if denied. The practice would evolve over centuries into trick-or-treating.

6.) Those Jack-o-lanterns Are Scary: Pumpkin carvings or jack-o-lanterns were first carried to scare off evil spirits. They were the scarecrows of Halloween basically. However in Ireland turnips were originally used, when folks got to North America they realized pumpkins were easier to carve because they were softer.

7.) Americans Were Not Having It: Halloween was widely opposed by Protestants and Puritans in North America until the late 18th century when there was a large influx of Scottish and Irish immigrants who brought their cultural practices with them. By the 20th century everyone was into it.

8.) People Made Their Costumes For A While: Costumes weren’t mass produced in stores until the 1930s.

    Emerald is an editor at CollegeCandy, lover of coffee, and pretend francophile. After studying writing and popular culture at NYU she decided to be a grownup and get a job. Tweet at ya' girl @EmeraldGritty.