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The Origin Of The Halloween Celebration

The evolution of a celebration from harvest thanksgiving to a commercial juggernaut


What's going on?

Every year in October before the year-end festivities, a particular celebration will take the stage for children and adults alike to dress up in costumes and participate in trick or treat. Halloween is a season colored by black and orange with retailers displaying pumpkins, candies, and ghostly decorations. The history of this celebration goes a long way back to evolve to become all that it’s known for today.


It all started back in the Celtic culture 2,000 years ago when the Celts celebrated a festival called Samhain to mark the end of the harvest season and the beginning of the dark days of winter. The belief was that spirits and faeries passed over between the worlds at that time and thus, offerings and gifts needed to be made to appease them. As Christianity spread in the first millennium in 835AD, the date was known as All Saints’ Day, where saints were remembered. The day before was known as All Hallow’s Eve, which later was known as Halloween.


Over time, in America, the influx of people from different communities shaped how the festival was celebrated. The tradition of dressing up in costumes and trick or treating began to form the celebration of Halloween, which was eventually recognized as a secular holiday celebration. Additionally, parents also influenced the removal of the scarier aspects of the holiday to make it more child-friendly. Since then, Halloween has grown to become a profitable industry of its own, generating $9 billion in 2018.