The Origins of Halloween

Ben GarciaMcKinley, Journalist

All of you probably know about the fun holiday, Halloween. You also probably celebrate it as well. But have you ever wondered how it got started? Stay with me and I’ll explain everything. The date of Halloween, October 31st, is the day when the pagans thought that the border between life and death was at its weakest.

That leads to some interesting practices that I will be explaining in this article. First on the list, Jack-o-lanterns. These are usually thought of as hollowed-out pumpkins with spooky faces carved into them. But before they used pumpkins, they actually used turnips. Turnips were very common and preserved nicely. The spooky faces were said to ward off spirits that walked the earth on Halloween.

Costumes are also a common Halloween tradition, but they were not always the same. On present-day Halloween, we wear costumes for fun. But back then, costumes were protective measures. The costumes were of the resemblance to the monsters that were said to walk the earth on Halloween, so the humans could blend in so as to not get attacked. They were made of animal skin, bedsheets, old clothes, and other household materials.

Trick or treating was pretty much the same back then as it is now, but instead of going door-to-door, you instead got candy from desperate folks who wanted some peace and quiet. This was because the border between life and death was temporarily blurred, so the children saw this as an opportunity to pull practical jokes, and then blame it on the spirits. To keep the kids in line, they were given candy to keep them appeased so they wouldn’t pull any pranks.

So next time someone asks what started Halloween, you can flex your newfound knowledge on them. This was Ben, and I hope you have an awesome rest of your day!


Works Cited:


Halloween: Origins, Meaning & Traditions – HISTORY