Halloween History and Facts

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Halloween Origins

See also, Ghost Stories of Asheville, Halloween Costumes

Halloween is also called All Hallows Eve or All Saints Eve.

The ancient Celts of Northern Europe held a pagan festival on October 31 to help the sun through the winter skies. The Celts lit bonfires in celebration commemorating the end of the harvest season or summer.

Because October 31st marked the end of the summer season and marked the beginning of winter, it was a day that invoked ghosts, supernatural spirits, warlocks and witches. The chill of and darkness of winter was associated with the chill and darkness of the grave. October 31 became a night to fear when demons and hobgoblins roamed the night. People stayed in their home and did not venture out.

Pumpkin carving and putting a candle inside of the pumpkin came from the custom of making food offering to the spirits of the dead.

All Saints day began as a Christian holiday to honor all saints and to counter the ancient pagan celebrations.  In the 17th and 18th centuries, people dressed up in costumes and masks, singing and dancing from house to house to ward of evil spirits.

In the late 18th and 19th century, children began celebrating Halloween by dressing up in Halloween Costumes.