Tuesday, October 8, 2019

Halloween History...by Kristin Wallace

So, it's October now, which means Halloween is a couple weeks away. Pumpkin Spice is everywhere. Hocus Pocus is on TV every day. Plus, there are other fall customs…carving a pumpkin, hayrides, hot apple cider, caramel apples. Choosing a costume. My mom made several of mine growing up, including a witch and a princess. There’s trick o’ treating and Halloween parties. 

Those are all big traditions of Halloween, at least in the US. But do you know the true history behind the holiday? Where did it come from and why was it celebrated? 

In the Beginning

The origin of Halloween dates back over 2,000 years with the ancient Celtic festival of Samhain in Ireland and parts of England. The Celts celebrated their new year on November 1, which marked the end of the harvest and the beginning of winter. Samhain was celebrated on October 31. On that night it was believed that the ghosts of the dead were actually able to walk the earth. To commemorate the event, the Celts dressed up in costumes and built huge bonfires to burn crops and make animal sacrifices. When Samhain was over, they re-lit their hearth fires from the sacred bonfire in order to protect their families during the winter. 

The Holiday Evolves

In the eighth century, Pope Gregory III designated November 1 All Saints’ Day, or All Hallows Eve, a time to honor all saints and martyrs. The holiday incorporated many of the Samhain traditions, including bonfires, parades and dressing up in costumes. Eventually, All Hallows Eve became known as Halloween. 

In the US, the more popular traditions (such as dressing up & trick o' treating) didn’t take shape until the second half the nineteenth century, mostly due to the large influx of Irish immigrants who began arriving in the 1840s. It wasn’t until the 1950s that Halloween evolved into a secular holiday aimed at children.

Check out this webpage for more in-depth history.

Halloween Holiday Trivia:

Jack o’ Lanterns originated in Ireland where people placed candles in hollowed-out turnips to keep away spirits on Samhain. 

It takes an average of 252 licks to get to the center of a Tootsie Pop.

According to the National Confectioner’s Association, more than 35 million pounds of candy corn are produced every year. 

Tootsie Rolls were the first wrapped penny candy in America.

Halloween candy sales average about 2 billion dollars annually in the United States.

Chocolate candy bars top the list as the most popular candy for trick-or-treaters with Snickers #1.

Halloween is the 2nd most commercially successful holiday, with Christmas being the first.

Bobbing for apples is thought to have originated from the roman harvest festival that honors Pamona, the goddess of fruit trees.

Black cats were once believed to be witch's familiars who protected their powers.

What are your favorite Halloween traditions? 

Kristin Wallace is the USA Today Best Selling Author of inspirational and sweet contemporary romance filled with “Love, Laughter and a Leap of Faith”. Her latest book, SECOND CHANCE HERO, is available now. 



  1. Fun post. My favorite candy bar is Snickers.

  2. When I was a kid my favorite tradition was trick-or-treating. I thoroughly loved taking my kids trick-or-treating when they were little.

  3. Boo! Happy Halloween, Kristin! Thanks for the background and the fun facts.

  4. So fun, Kristin. And the Halloween trivia is interesting!