Halloween has been around for more than a thousand-year. It was originally a religious holiday, but it has become more secular over time. The religious symbols have almost disappeared. Today, Halloween is a holiday that encourages dressing up and has a lot of fun, especially for children.
The origins of Halloween can be traced back to the ancient Celtic festival Samhain (which was celebrated on November 1, according to modern calendars). According to legend, on this day, the spirits of the dead return to their homes. People dressed up in costumes and lit bonfires to keep them away. This is how Halloween became synonymous with popular Halloween tropes like ghosts, witches, and goblins.
Pope Boniface IV, in the 7th century CE, created All Saints Day. It was originally observed on May 13. Pope Gregory III, a century later, moved the holiday from May 13 to November 1. This was likely to replace the pagan festival Samhain. Halloween, the name given to the day preceding the saintly celebration, became All Hallows Eve.
Although the holiday originated in the Celtic countries of Ireland, England, and France, it soon spread to other parts. It was forbidden for the first American colonists to celebrate it in New England, but it gained popularity in the Southern colonies. In the 1800s, fall celebrations to mark the seasonal harvest included Halloween elements. Irish immigrants who fled the terrible Potato Famine brought many Halloween traditions with them.
In the United States, trick-or-treating is a tradition in which children dress up like Halloween and ask for treats from their neighbours. This was because the Irish and Scottish communities revived the Old World tradition of “guising”, where a person would wear a costume, tell jokes, recite poems, or perform other tricks in return for a piece or treat. Trick-or-treating to get candy was a popular Halloween activity by 1950. Today, Halloween is a huge holiday for candy sales in America, with more than $2.5 billion annual sales.