The history of Halloween – how it all started. Halloween began as the festival of Samhain. It was part of the ancient Celtic religion in Britain and other parts of Europe.
Halloween as it is currently celebrated with costumes, trick or treat, and superstitions, takes from this Druid Holiday. Halloween was called Hallow E’en in Ireland. Halloween evolved from “All Hollows” Eve. It originated from the pagan holiday honoring the dead.
The All Saints Day celebration was also called All–hallows or All-hallowmas (from Middle English Alholowmesse meaning All Saints’ Day) and the night before it, the traditional night of Samhain in the Celtic religion, began to be called All-Hallows Eve and, eventually, Halloween.
As for modern Halloween, Santino, writing in “American Folklore: An Encyclopedia” (Garland, 1996), noted that “Halloween beliefs and customs were brought to North America with the earliest Irish immigrants who despised moor people, then by the great waves of Irish immigrants fleeing the famines of the first half of the nineteenth century.
Halloween has its roots in the ancient, pre-Christian Celtic festival of Samhain, which was celebrated on the night of October 31. The Celts, who lived 2,000 years ago in the area that is now Ireland, the United Kingdom and northern France, believed that the dead returned to earth on Samhain.
In Christian times, it became a celebration of the evening before All Saints’ Day. Immigrants from Scotland and Ireland brought the holiday to the United States. The commercialization of Halloween started in the 1900s, when postcards and die-cut paper decorations were produced.