Though Halloween is now thought of as a holiday where all children dress up and go door-to-door collecting candy from neighbors on the last day of October, Halloween was originally a holiday only celebrated by Christians.
In the Christian religion, Halloween was known as All Hallows Eve, the night before the Christian holy day of All Hallows' Day on November 1st. Now, all Hallows Eve has morphed into Halloween, occurring on October 31st.
All Hallows' Eve began in the eighth century as a Christianized version of Samhain, a pagan religious festival originating from an ancient Celtic spiritual tradition. Christians believed that there is a powerful spiritual bond between the living and the dead on All Hallows' Day, and used the day to commemorate all those who have attained the ideal life in Heaven.
On All Hallows’ Day, people believed that the walls between our world and the spirit world became thin enough to allow ghosts to pass through. Christians would honor saints and pray for souls who had not yet reached heaven.
Today’s Halloween traditions descended from the traditional Christian holiday. Originally, people carved faces into vegetables or fruits and then hollowed them out so a candle could sit within it. The light shining out through the carved faces was supposed to scare away evil spirits. We now carve Jack-o-lanterns as a fun Halloween activity and to decorate our houses, but the meaning behind the carvings stems from traditions on All Hallow’s Day.
Trick-or-treating was not always kids walking around their neighborhood with friends collecting candy for fun. The origins of this tradition came from people that used to disguise themselves in costumes in order to hide from and blend in with the dead spirits who were said to walk among them.
Halloween nowadays is a time of fun and decoration, but people do not truly understand why they participate in certain Halloween festivities. With Halloween losing its religious meaning behind it, people now use the past traditions to bring joy to children.