How Halloween Came to Be

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This work was done by the OJH art department in the spirit of Halloween. The students have been working on these to practice shading with different paint colors.

For years Halloween has been known as the night children get to dress and go door-to-door to receive free candy. This term is known as trick-or-treating. Trick-or-treating has been around for many years, but how did it get started?

Halloween originated with the Ancient Celtic festival of Samhain. According to, the Celtics would light bonfires and wear costumes to ward off ghosts around 2,000 years ago. In the eighth century, Pope Gregory III designated November 1 as a time to honor all saints. Soon, All Saints Day carried some of the traditions of Samhain. The evening before All Saints Day was known as All Hallows Eve, later to become Halloween. This day marked the end of summer and the beginning of the dark, cold winter, a time of year that was often associated with human death.

Many years later, Halloween made its way to the colonies. Celebration of Halloween was extremely limited in colonial New England due to rigid protestant beliefs. Halloween was much more common in Maryland and the southern colonies. Americans began to dress up in costumes and go house-to-house asking for food or money, which eventually became known as trick-or-treating.

In the late 1800s, Americans started to turn Halloween into a holiday more about community and neighborly get-togethers than about ghosts, pranks and witchcraft. Families tried to prevent tricks being played on them by providing the neighborhood children with small treats.

Eighth grade student, Maddie Chrestman has family traditions that she really enjoys. “Carving pumpkins with my family is one of the traditions we have,” she said, “then we bake the pumpkin seeds after we carve the pumpkin.” Although Chrestman went to a Halloween party this year instead of trick-or-treating, she believes that there is no age limit to trick-or-treating and that anyone could go. “You’re never too old to go trick-or-treating because you can always have fun no matter what your doing,” Chrestman said.

Eighth grade English teacher Mrs. Amanda Disseler went trick-or-treating with her son, Jackson, this year. The two chose to dress as Pascal and Rapunzel from the Disney movie, Tangled. “Jackson picked it during a school day last school year and told me I couldn’t cut my hair until after Halloween,” Mrs. Disseler said, “That’s why it’s so long right now!”

Mrs. Disseler likes to have homemade costumes rather than going to the store and buying them. “My mother-in-law makes all of Jackson’s costumes, so we always go to Illinois the weekend before Halloween to try to get it and do the final fitting,” Mrs. Disseler said.