The History of the Spookiest Day of the Year

Photo courtesy of myspaceanimations.com

Halloween is a fantastic holiday.

You have candy spilling out of every house, you get to be any one (or thing) you want to be, and everyone is in a good mood. What’s not to love?

“There’s always a good party to go to this time of year, and also it’s fun seeing how creative people can be with their costumes,” says Antonio Ortiz.

Recent SMU grad Laura Stillo says her favorite part about Halloween is the whole ambiance. “In Texas, the weather is always perfect. People seem to be happier because it’s the start of the holiday season. I love the colors!”

I’m a history buff. In fact, my minor is in history. While I was browsing The History Channel website I came across an article about Halloween and its origins.

According to the History Channel, Halloween is a mixture of Celtic, Catholic and Roman practices that have all come together to create the holiday as we know it.

October 31 is the day that many believe the dead come back to earth. According to European and Celtic practices, people would wear costumes in order to “confuse” the spirits when they came back among the living.

Taking from this old tradition, Americans, during the second half of the 19th century, began dressing up on this day.

Eventually, the basic “sheet -over- the- head” ghost costume evolved into the elaborate costumes we have today. The identities one can take on now aren’t just limited to ghosts and witches.

“I’ve dressed up as Spongebob Squarepants,” says SMU sophomore Charles Savidge. “And last year I dressed as the guy from Scream,” he added.

Photo courtesy of bytesdaily.blogspot.com

The idea of trick-or-treating came from the English practices during All Soul’s Day. During the festivities, poorer citizens would go from house to house begging for food. Homeowners would then give them treats known as “soul cakes” in exchange for the beggar praying for their dead relatives.

Now, children receive candies and goodies of all shapes and sizes.

The most popular candies in 2010, according to the Indiana Business Research Center, were Tootsie Rolls, Hershey’s Milk Chocolate and Nestle Crunch Bars.

I’m all about fun facts. So, here is a list of a few more interesting facts about Halloween. Don’t be afraid to share them out at your holiday parties!

  • The first Jack O’Lanterns were actually made from turnips.
  • Halloween is thought to have originated around 4000 B.C., which means Halloween has been around for over 6,000 years.
  • According to tradition, if a person wears his or her clothes inside out and then walks backwards on Halloween, he or she will see a witch at midnight.
  • The owl is a popular Halloween image. In Medieval Europe, owls were thought to be witches, and to hear an owl’s call meant someone was about to die.
  •  Samhainophobia is the fear of Halloween.

Enjoy whatever you decide to do on Halloween, whether it’s going to a party, trick-or-treating with friends, or passing out candy.

Stay safe and be smart. Happy Spooking!

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2 comments

  1. […] and interesting; a win-win in my opinion. In a previous post I mentioned some fun facts about Halloween. I figured I’d do the same with the latest fast-approaching holiday that goes by the name New […]

  2. Thanks samanthacangelosi for your lovely help and advice.

    It\\\\\\\’s wonderful to locate other people who talk about my interest!

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