It’s that time of the year again where the ghouls and goblins come out for a scare, but how did Halloween really originate?
Many believe that this spine- chilling holiday derived from the Celtic festival of Samhain, which was held in Ireland over 2000 years ago. Celts would celebrate their new year on November 1st and dressed in costumes made of animal heads and skins to ward off any lingering spirits on the 31st of October.
They believed that ghosts returned to Earth on the night before the new year and hosted bonfires in an attempt to scare away demons and protect themselves from the upcoming winter months. By dressing in costumes, Celts were disguised so that ghosts would think they were spirits and wouldn’t bother them. Crops and animals were burned as a form of sacrifice to the deities, and they left food outside of their doors to prevent them from entering.
Halloween soon established itself in America, but there was trouble in colonial New England due to the limits of the Protestant religion. Maryland and other southern counties adopted Halloween initially and Americanized its practice to celebrate the harvest and share ghost stories. As more immigrants came to America, Halloween became more popularized, and Americans dressed in costumes and visited house to house for food and money. The phrase “trick or treating” dates back to early 1927 and children were considered soulers who begged at the doorsteps of neighbors.
Today, Halloween is celebrated among 171 million Americans with an average expected spend of $9.1 billion in sales in America. This totals approximately $86.13 per household. Americans carve pumpkins, watch classic horror movies, and host parties as Halloween tradition. Haunted attractions including ghost tours, haunted hayrides, and haunted houses open during the fall months to attract local thrill seekers. (All information via The National Retail Federation and History.com) Visit our blog about Halloween safety tips before heading out to trick-or-treat tonight!