The thirty-first of October, that one day a year when someone can shed their cloak of humanity and don the skin of a monster without receiving odd looks.
But what is the story behind Halloween?
If you were to enter “history of Halloween” into an internet search engine, you’d have a multitude of results spit back at you, some hitting the nail right on the head, others missing it by a mile. The site www.halloweenhistory.org is one that manages to hit the mark.
Halloween finds its roots in the ancient Celtic festival called Samhain.
A festival that celebrated the end of the harvest season, it was believed that during Samhain the world of the living overlapped with the world of the dead, allowing the dead to roam the living world and cause all forms of mischief.
To appease, or blend in, with the spirits, people would don masks and costumes.
The act of trick-or-treating finds its roots elsewhere. It is believed to have evolved from an act in the middle ages called souling. This was when the poor folk would go begging door to door, often receiving food in exchange for prayers.
Only now, instead of beggars at the door, you find children that could very well egg your house if you don’t offer up the treat they desire.
As with many of the traditions and holidays that are spread out through America today, the traditions of Halloween traveled over to America with the immigrants that would populate the shores.