Origins of Halloween

Kaylin Rock, Staff Reporter

October 31 is a very popular day of the year. Whether you enjoy Halloween for the costumes, spooks, or treats (or all), most of us can say that this holiday is one that people look forward to. But how did this holiday come to be? Was it always this way? Why/how did some of the Halloween traditions begin?

Pope Gregory, III designated November 1 as a time to honor saints, which came to be known as All Saints Day. The evening before that was called All Hallows Eve, and later, Halloween. 

Here are how some of our Halloween traditions began.

The tradition of carving Jack-o-Lanterns

It originated in Ireland (they used turnips instead). This started because of a legend about a man named Stingy Jack. The legend says he repeatedly trapped the Devil and let him go under the condition that his soul would never go to Hell. But when he died, Heaven didn’t want his soul. He was forced to wander Earth as a ghost for eternity. He was given a burning lump of coal inside a turnip to light his way. People began carving scary faces into turnips to scare away evil spirits. 

Wearing scary costumes

It was believed that the dead would be able to walk with the living during the time of Halloween. So people came up with the idea of wearing costumes to be left alone by spirits. 


There are many theories on how this Halloween tradition began. One of them is that this stems from “belsnickeling,” a German-American Christmas tradition where children would dress up in costumes and call all the neighbors to see if the adults could guess who was who. If a kid was not guessed they would be rewarded with food or treats. 

Have a fun and safe Halloween!