People celebrate Halloween every year, but what is the real story behind Halloween? This article will discuss the origins of Halloween and the meaning behind it.

How did Halloween start?

According to Peter Tokofsky, Assistant Professor at UCLA, Halloween started with the Celtic Festival. The Celtics or Druids called it Samhain, their New Year. It is the end of a crop (harvest) or beginning of winter. During the autumn, farmers used a sickle or a reaper to cut the grain. The Celtics refer to Samhain as the day of the dead. It means they get to connect with the souls of the dead while they cross over to another world.

For the Druids (Celtics), Samhain (pronounced so-win or sah-win) was the start of the dark part of the year and the end of summer and beginning of winter. They had the year divided into two sections, light and dark. The light part of the year started on May 1st, Gregorian calendar, and the darkness started on November 1st, Gregorian calendar. The real story of Halloween began with the Celtics.

Druids celebrated the event with a festival where they did not want the sun to set. They made bonfires and danced around it to keep out evil spirits. But, the Celtics left their doors open, hoping kind souls of their departed loved ones would join them around the fire. They used the occasion to set wedding dates and to predict the birth of a baby who might become famous.

While the Celtics celebrated, they wore costumes of animal heads and skin and tried to predict each other’s fortune. They burned crops and sacrificed animals. The Druids entertained the spirits, who found bodies to inhabit for the New Year. If people dressed up as witches, ghosts, or goblins, they would not get possessed. The spirits would think the people were just like them.

How did the Romans influence Halloween?

The Romans conquered most of the Celtics territory around 43 AD. During their 400-year rule, they celebrated a festival called Feralia, meaning the passing of the dead. They had a second celebration call Pomona, the Roman goddess of the fruit and trees.

The Romans used the apple to symbolize Pomona and incorporated the celebration into Samhain. They described it as “bobbing for apples,” the real story.  It was a game the Romans played to decide their future mates. People still play the game today during Halloween celebration.

What influence the Christians had on Halloween?

The Roman Catholic Church incorporated practices of Samhain to win over Christian converts during their 400-year rule. Pope Boniface IV introduced All Saints Day to celebrate on May 13 in honor of dead saints and martyrs.  He wanted to replace Samhain with All Saints Day.

But, Pope Gregory the IV changed the holiday to November 1st in 835 AD. The Celtics still celebrated Samhain. Christians loved All Saints Day, a celebration of the dead, but people continued to celebrate Samhain. They lit bonfires, held parades and dressed up in costumes like the Samhain celebration.

The real story behind the name “Halloween” started with the Christians. They called All Saints Day All Hallows or All Hallowmas, in Old English. The Celtics celebrated Samhain on October 31st, one day before All Saints Day, so they named the day All Hallows Eve. Further down the road, they changed it to Halloween.

On November 2nd,1000 AD, the Christians set in motion All Souls Day to honor dead non-saints. During the tradition, poor people went door-to-door to ask for food in favor of prayers for their relative’s dead souls. They wanted the souls to go to heaven. The Christians called the practice “a-souling.”

The Roman Catholics preferred All Souls Day over Samhain. The poor received “soul cakes’ or a song and dance for their prayers. Children often volunteered to dance for food, ale, or money. People celebrated both holidays, All Saints Day (Hallowmas) and All Souls Day on November 1st.

Protestant Christians did not like celebrating the day of the dead, so they proclaimed October 31st as Reformation Day. They wanted to honor people who set forth the Reformations in the 1500s such as Martin Luther, John Calvin, and others.

Current day Halloween celebration

The real story behind current day Halloween celebration began when the Scotts and Irish moved to the United States in the early 1900s. Cultures such as Mexico and others celebrated the day of the dead. The Mexicans called it El Día de Los Muertos. Brazilians called their celebration Finados (Day of the Dead). Bolivians called it Day of the Skull 9 (Día de Los Natitas). The Asians called it Ghost Festival.

When the Irish and others came to the United States to settle, they brought their customs with them. After combining the traditions, Americans started the “trick or treat” celebration. In the late 1800s, Halloween was a community celebration. The 1920s and 1930s, Halloween had no religious base but still centered on the community. In the 1950s, the government had to change Halloween as a holiday focused on young people to limit vandalism. Today, crimes still occur during Halloween like in the 1950s.

What is the real story behind Halloween?

The real story behind Halloween deals with dead people and spirits coupled with animal sacrifices. Several cultures celebrate the day of the dead. Why are people celebrating the day of the dead? It seems devilish, is it not? The Celtics or Druids said spirits looked for bodies to inhabit for the New Year during Samhain. So, the Celtics “trick or treat” to hide from evil spirits by wearing costumes.

Do you know why you are “trick or treating” or celebrating Halloween? Bobbing for Apples is nothing more than gaining favors with these evil spirits. In the old days, people left treats at their door to satisfy evil spirits. Carving scary faces into a pumpkin is not a game and not for decorations. People carve spine-chilling faces into their pumpkins to drive evil spirits away.


Now you know the real story behind Halloween; taking part in pranks and vandalism is not the way to go. Romans 13:12 states we should put evil deeds behind us and put on the armor of light.

The night is nearly over; the day is almost here. So let us put aside the deeds of darkness and put on the armor of light.  ~Romans 13:12.

You cannot serve two masters. Either you join forces with The Most Highs or the devil.

You cannot drink the cup of the Lord and the cup of demons. You cannot partake of the table of the Lord and the table of demons. ~1 Corinthians 10:21.




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