The History of Halloween


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Interview with Lesley Bannatyne and a brief description of the beginning of the Halloween and how it became the holiday it is today. A few facts you may not have known about this mysterious dark holiday.

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The History of Halloween

  1. 1. THE HISTORY OF HALLOWEEN ScaryVisions .comMy Mission Who Am I What To ExpectYou have downloaded or received this I consider myself a Halloween and I hope you enjoy this brief summary ofe-book because you are a true fan of Haunted House fan. I remember trick-or- The History Of Halloween. I haveHalloween or want to know more about treating in the 70’s and 80’s, walking included my interview with Lesleyone of the most popular holidays in the miles in the rain with pillow cases full of Bannatyne that I wrote just before theworld. Halloween didn’t start out as candy. I still feel the excitement and release of her book Halloween Nation.Halloween and the progression over energy from my first haunted attraction Please feel free to share this book withmany years has always fascinated me. from over 20 years ago. I have operated others. Or send them to my website forFrom the traditions of the Europeans to a haunted attraction, acted as many more information. I will be addingthe Haunted Attractions of today; characters, and still decorate my garage products for sale and more free contentHalloween has touched millions of and backyard for trick-or-treaters in the future.people with its unusual tactics and today. I write articles at If you want to contact me, here is mybeliefs. and I am currently information and the places I hang out. building a Halloween, Haunt, and HorrorIn this e-book you will read a summary Enjoy the book! website at where Halloween was born and how Scaryvisions.comit became what it is today. Of course I Over the years, I have always beencould not fit all aspects of this dark confused about what my passions were haunTopic.comholiday in one book but stay tuned for and what I wanted to do when I grewmore information in the future. I want to up. I have dabbled in many business Facebookcreate more information about ventures and always came back to TwitterHalloween and products specifically for something Halloween related. Thecreatives in the dark arts. If you have Haunted Attraction business allows me Linked Inany ideas on products you would like to to be involved all year long. To be Email: brian@scaryvisions.comsee in the future, you’ll find my email at creative, to help others, and to tap intothe end of this page. my dark side. It has always been there. ~2~
  2. 2. THE HISTORY OF HALLOWEEN ScaryVisions .com breast-armour made out of chains. But possible to bring good luck byThe Birth Of Halloween most content themselves with the worshipping the spirits. They built bonHalloween has transformed into a weapons nature gave them: they go fires and wore costumes made of animaldifferent type of monster since its birth. naked into battle…Weird, discordant skins and heads to ward of the evilToday’s Halloween has been created horns were sounded, [they shouted in spirits and welcome the good. Many offrom a mix of different customs and chorus with their] deep and harsh today’s Halloween traditions werereligions: Celtic beliefs, Catholic rituals, voices, they beat their swords started here: costume parties, fire,and European folk traditions. Halloween rhythmically against their shields…the parades, and spiritual magic.was first born in the regions that are Celts cut off their enemies’ heads and These traditions changed over time asnow known as France, Ireland, and the nailed them over the doors of their huts the Romans took over and new customsUnited Kingdom over 2,000 years ago in exactly the same way as hunters do were adopted. Christianity became theby the Celts. Before we go into with their skulls of the animals they primary religion by the 800’s and thetraditions, you need a more visual have slain…they preserved the heads of Pope declared November 1 as All Saint’sdescription of who the Celts were. their most high-ranking victims in cedar Day and the night before becameDiodorus, a Roman historian described oil, keeping them carefully in wooden known as All Hollow’s Eve or Halloween.them like this: boxes.”“Their aspect is terrifying…They are November 1 was an important date tovery tall in stature, with rhythmic the Celts. Preparing for the grim andmuscles under clear white skin…They harsh winter months ahead, many Celtslook like wood-demons, their hair thick realized that they could lose their entireand shaggy like a horse’s mane….The food supply or maybe lose a loved oneway they dress is astonishing: they due to the unfavorable living conditions.wear brightly coloured and embroidered In order to prepare for this dismal timeshirts and cloaks…they wear bronze of the year, the Celts held a festival callhelmets with figures picked out on Samhain (sow-in: “summer’s end”) onthem, even horns, which made them October 31. They believed that on thislook even taller than they already day the blurred space between life andare…while others cover themselves with death became clear and that it was ~3~
  3. 3. THE HISTORY OF HALLOWEEN ScaryVisions .com been a toasty gathering around a fire with parades, school parties, andHalloween in America with celebrants eating nuts and telling township involvement- more likeAs the Europeans migrated to America, stories; in the Ozarks, Halloween may today’s traditional holiday.they carried their customs with them. have been a barn dance and a grinningBut not all areas of the country contest.” –Lesley Bannatyneaccepted the strange rituals and many The climax of the Halloween movementpeople were forced to hide their beliefs; was thanks to the potato famine inespecially in the Northeastern colonies Ireland in 1846. Many Irish immigrantswhere the Protestants-known as the came to America to find newPuritans-settled. Many other colonies opportunities and brought a new forcestill celebrated All Saints Day but with of Halloween with them. Their beliefsall the different ethnic types; a new combined with the rituals of the blacks,type of Halloween was created. Not Germans, English, and Scots led towith animal heads and sacrifices; but peddling door to door for money andwith fortune telling, ghost stories, food. By the late 1800’s, the media anddancing, and singing. These “play Click on the picture to watch this 45 politicians suggested making Halloweenparties” were usually held in community a kinder and gentler holiday by toning it minute video from The History Channelbuildings to celebrate a bountiful for a more in depth understanding of down. Suggesting everythingharvest and stoke the romance as frightening and grotesque be removed the history of Halloween. If you have awinter covered the landscape. difficult time loading this video check from the celebrations and more focusedHalloween became a different entity on games, food, and costumes. out the link at:based on where a person lived and what believed. Between the 1920’s and 1950’s the art of “trick or treating” was born. This was If you like that video about the history“Southern girls might look down a well of Halloween here is another one: a way for the entire community to beto spy the face of their future husbands, involved and supplying small treats towhile girls in Chicago wrapped eggs in the children was supposed to keep thestring and watched them burn in a fire. ween/videos#haunted-history-of- vandalism at a minimum. HalloweenHalloween in the Northeast might have halloween became a community-centered holiday ~4~
  4. 4. THE HISTORY OF HALLOWEEN ScaryVisions .com a sinful man so once he died he couldn’t A traditional Irish turnip from the earlyHalloween Artifacts get into Hell because of the deal he 20th century:Many of the symbols of Halloween like made with the Devil. Lost and confused,the witch and jack-o-lantern were Jack requested some other place to go.adopted by American’s but where The Devil tossed Jack an ember fromexactly did they come from and what Hell that would always stay lit to helpdo they mean? Once we understand the him find his way through the eternalmeaning behind them we might get new darkness. He carved out a turnip andideas for our next haunt or Halloween carries it around with him to this Here are just two of the most Hence the name ‘Jack-o-Lantern’ orrecognized artifacts of Halloween. “Jack Of The Lantern”. The Irish used the jack-o-lantern to ward off evil spirits by placing them on their doorstep, but mostly they usedThe Tale of the Jack-O-Lantern swedes or turnips for the vegetable ofThere are a couple of stories involving choice. They adopted the pumpkin afterthe true origin of the jack-o-lantern. The Weird pumpkin facts: they realized it was easier to carve andearliest was probably the folk tale of more readily available after arriving in  1.5 Billion pounds of pumpkin are“Stingy Jack” and his evil trickery he America. produced every yearplayed on the devil. An old Irish story ofa sinful man named Jack who tricked  The world’s largest pumpkin “Oh!—fruit loved of boyhood!—the old weighs 1,700 lbs.the devil into never taking his soul. days recalling.There are many versions but supposedly When wood-grapes were purpling and  There are about 500 seeds in oneJack tricked the Devil into either brown nuts were falling! pumpkin.climbing an apple tree or turning himself When wild, ugly faces we carved in its  There are 30 different varieties of skin, pumpkins.into a coin. Then Jack surrounded the Glaring out through the dark with aDevil with crosses. He forced the Devil  Pumpkins get launched over candle within!”-John Greenleafinto promising that he would never take Whittier 5,000 feet at the annual ‘pumkinJack’s soul when he died. Well, Jack was chunkin’ contest in Deleware. ~5~
  5. 5. THE HISTORY OF HALLOWEEN ScaryVisions .comThe Witch: A Big Misunderstanding a religion born in the 1950’s and is not same qualities of a witch-but are these practiced by all witches. “Witchcraft” is people really witches?So, what do you think about when you more of a skill that can be learned andthink about a witch? The old hag- varies by personal beliefs. Witches don’tstanding around an iron cauldron- believe in the Devil. They don’t believespeaking rhymes of satanic evil and in God either. They are pagans andcorruptive spells? The one in the middle believe in magic, healing, and spiritualof the haunt who screams “Let me have energy. But like normal humans thereyour tongue” or “I need more toes for are the “good” and the “bad”. Those whomy potion”? That’s what I think about are negative seek to inflict a mentalanyway…after doing a bit of research, I shadow over their victims with mindfound some interesting facts and myths games and homemade herbalabout our typical witch. concoctions. Those who are positive areWitches have been around for many healers of many in need and guides tocenturies; they just didn’t earn that good outcomes. But throughout historylabel until the 14th century. A witch has and today; witches get scolded for beingbeen described as a being who had the different.ability to alter another persons mind, Myth: Witches Ride Broomsbody, or property against his or her will. Myth: Witches Have Magical Powers The witnesses of this spectacle hadFor good or bad. Using potions, objects, If you have ever met or worked with a probably sipped on some herbal teaand spells to accomplish their goals. But psychic, palm reader, gypsy, voodoo earlier that evening...but they did useas the witch evolved through history, practitioner, holistic doctor, or spiritual the broom for cleaning up their mess.they became more misunderstood and healer you have experienced a form of Here are other tools they used: Aisolated from their communities. mental or physical manipulation. The athame, a double-edged steel knife. A expert performing those techniques has cauldron to mix the potions. A chalice toMyth: The Witch is the Devil’s Helper learned the ability to read body harness spiritual powers. And a wandThere has always been the idea that all language, find your mental triggers, and for directing energy and focus.witches are evil and are used to use herbs or natural medicine to makepromote the devil’s dirty work. “Wicca”, you better or worse. These are the ~6~
  6. 6. THE HISTORY OF HALLOWEEN ScaryVisions .com IV designates November 1st All idea of "tricking", an excuse toWhy We Should Care. Saints Day cause mischiefI can’t cover every aspect of Halloween  800 A.D.: Pope Gregory III  1918: Most Halloweenin this e-book. I don’t have all the declares that villagers may dress celebrations are canceled due toanswers to this riddle about the birth of in costume as saints, and young the Spanish Flu Pandemica tradition that has become a favorite men must go door to door to beg  1921: Anoka, Minnesota becomesholiday for many people. But I do for food for the poor the first American city tounderstand the meaning and  1500s: Samhain and All Saints officially sanction a citywidetransformations that have occurred Day become All Hallows Day, the Halloween celebrationover many centuries. night before, All Hallows Evening,  1923: New York begins citywide Hallow Evening, or Halloween Halloween celebrationsHalloween has evolved into something  1600s: Considering them Catholic  1924: Anaheim, California holdsdifferent than it was in ancient beliefs. holidays, New England Puritans its first Halloween paradeHave we taken the facts for granted and ban Halloween, Christmas and  1925: Los Angeles beginsinvented our own holiday? Is this just Easter citywide Halloween celebrationsan excuse for children to get free candy  1840s: The Irish Potato Famine  Present: Halloween is a 2.5 billionand parents to buy that next Ironman brings Irish Catholics to America, dollar industrycostume? What will you see differently along with their Halloweenabout Halloween by knowing more of Outline by traditions. Due to the abundancethe facts? of pumpkins, they carve them I believe if we all learn and study the into jack olanterns instead of history of Halloween; we can all beThe Transformation of Halloween turnips more successful in our dark passions.  1,000-100 B.C.: The Celts  1860s: Members of the Catholic Whether you’re into haunted houses, celebrate Samhain on November and Episcopalian churches the horror genre, or handing out 1st, painting faces on gourds and campaign to officially sanction candy for your trick-or-treater; their own faces to scare away Halloween knowing the principles behind this spirits  1870: Halloween becomes a pagan holiday will give you that  600 A.D.: In an effort to stop the popular holiday, along with the ‘proud to be a fan’ feeling every time pagan celebrations, Pope Boniface someone says the word….Halloween.. ~7~
  7. 7. THE HISTORY OF HALLOWEEN ScaryVisions .comLesley Pratt Bannatyne: A Halloween Nation: Behind the Scenes of Americas event in your life inspired you to write Fright Night hits home for many of us about this misunderstood holiday?Author and Inspiration For All haunters because she dives deep into In the mid-1980s, a publishing house the new age of Halloween and why it called Facts on File launched a book on matters to us now. She interviews the history of Thanksgiving which leading experts in the Haunt Industry surprised everyone by being a runaway such as mask makers, haunted house success. F on F put the word out that designers, home haunters, tattoo artists, theyd look pretty favorably on any web designers, zombie walkers, and all book pitch that involved holidays and the other scary people who make up an agent friend of mine left this this evolving holiday. If you enjoy message on my answering Halloween youll love this book and all machine: "Theyre going fast, Les. All of her other books. Halloween thats left is Election Day and Nation infested the book stores on April Halloween." I never looked back. 15th, 2011 and you can get her other books too. Click Here to order Halloween Is your Guinness Record of the largest Nation: Behind the Scenes of Americas gathering of witches still current and Fright Night And then dont forget to how did you acquire such a loyal come back and read this awesome following? interview that we put together for youIf you are not sure who Lesley Pratt Alas, we held the title for just two years. and check out the links at the end ofBannatyne is-shame on you. Not only is I’m not sure who has it now, but we this article for more information relatedshe the leading author on Halloween were brought down by a charitable to Lesley.history and culture. Lesley has shared event in Pennsylvania. Im lucky to liveplenty of her wisdom about Halloween Over your career as an author it seems in Somerville, MA, where crowds comeon Nickelodeon, The History you favor the topic of Halloween quite a together for the oddest of reasons (ourChannel, Time Magazine, National bit and you are known as The three maple trees start to give sap, a callGeographic, and even The World Book Halloween Authority writer. What for activist street bands, massive snowEncyclopedia! Her new book Halloween ball fights, beard contests), and a ~8~
  8. 8. THE HISTORY OF HALLOWEEN ScaryVisions .comGuinness World Record attempt was extraordinary Halloween people, who horror movie I’d even seen, and becauseenough of a challenge to bring them out. often lead me in unusual directions. my car’s engine burst into flames while II was happy to hand over the title to was driving home from the movie. I’ve What is your most memorablePA. been ghost hunting and I must say I Halloween event in your life as a haven’t been spooked by that. Frankly,Not only are you an author in many child/adult that replays over and over I’d be delighted to run into any of themagazines and online directories your in your mind? family and friends I’ve lost, but so far,description of Halloween is in the World I have a few. First of all, Dennis M. none have showed up. I don’t have aBook Encyclopedia! What is the most kissed me on Halloween when I was ten. favorite horror writer, but I tend to likemonumental stepping stone(s) in your He just ran up behind me and gave me a the spookier material more than thecareer that led you to the authority you big kiss on the back of my neck. It was violent. I’m a Poe and Lovecraft kind ofare today? my first. But frankly, it didn’t compare girl.I wish there was one big answer for with getting the chance to walk in Tell us Haunters more about your newthis, like I was born with a caul or costume up 6th Avenue in New York book "Halloween Nation" and why weabducted by trolls, but the truth is, City with 60,000 others, or to crawl would enjoy it?there was no one big step. There were through the Monroeville Mall withhundreds of steps, and a few decades of 2000 zombies or even to celebrate I wanted to try and find out what makesresearch that took me in lots of different Samhain with a group of pagans in a Halloween so important right now, fortangents. In preparing my first book on Unitarian church in Cambridge. whom, and why, so I spent a few yearsthe history of Halloween, for example, I talking with as many people in the Do you enjoy Haunted Attractions?bumped into colonial religion, modern Halloween community as I could: mask Real Haunted Houses? Horror Movies?paganism, pop culture, Irish mythology, makers, musicians, prop builders, Scary books? Do you have anythe Masons, Hollywood special effects, haunters, ghost hunters, spiritualists, favorites of each?Pentecostal Christians, Jaycees, gay witches, pumpkin growers, pumpkinculture, folklorists, you name it. I still I love haunted attractions most of all. beer brewers, writers, horror burlesquehave files of Halloween material I Movies - some yes, some no. Scariest performers, tattoo artists, vintagehaven’t put into written form. And I movie ever for me? The Exorcist. I think collectors—you get the picture. Forcontinue to meet the most it’s because it was the first serious anyone that’s curious about what makes Halloween relevant now, or how ~9~
  9. 9. THE HISTORY OF HALLOWEEN ScaryVisions .comthey themselves fit in to the whole myself start, and sooner or later, I believe that Halloween is still drivenHalloween picture, or what attracts us something fun will kick in. by we who celebrate Halloween’s big icons (ghosts, What are your outlooks for the growth How about some lasting words ofwitches, pranks, pumpkins, monsters), of Halloween and how do see the future inspiration from the Halloweenthe book might be worth a read. of the monetary value of the season? Authority on Halloween and the HauntAs a successful author on Halloween, industry. There’s a great new google tool that cancan you share some insight on keeping take every mention of a word in all of I can’t promise they’ll last, or evenyour passion alive and tips for new the books that google has digitized inspire, but I do have a few thoughtsaspiring authors, bloggers, and writers? (millions) and chart the usage on a about haunts and horror. InterviewersI’ve never (that I can remember) written graph. When you type in “Halloween,” (non-Halloween industry) often ask meabout something that doesn’t really, the mentions begin around 1860 and why Halloween entertainment is soreally interest me. (Even climb modestly until about 1970-80. graphic and bloody now. First of all, it’sdendrochronology - thats right - the Then there’s a gigantic leap of about not just Halloween. Our whole culture isscience of tree rings - is pretty 1000% between then and 2005. graphic and bloody now; Halloween isfascinating.) I think if you’re a Halloween has captured our interest in a just an expression of that. But heres thewriter/blogger/author, you can tell big way, and as long as so many of us thing: people who study film theorizeright away when something doesn’t are intrigued by it, I think the season that horror is popular because it’s ablegrab you. A book, especially, takes a will continue to feed the market. I don’t to present the real terrors of our worldhuge amount of time, and if you’re not see saturation yet. And to be clear, since with some honesty, and that horrorwriting about something you love you we’re talking money, I still think that films can be seen as a way to cope withmay not be able to stay with it. I’m not Halloween is exciting NOT because the way we live now. And in somesaying that every single day and there is a group of people sitting in a ways, haunted houses can do this too;sentence is a boatload of fun, or that it’s corporate board room trying to decide they follow the same cultural drifts andeasy to write about disemboweled what we’ll buy, but because there are ride on the same anxieties that horrorcorpses when the sun is shining and the people sitting in garages, basements, films do. But there is a real differencelilacs in bloom. For the days that aren’t and kitchens trying to come up with between a horror film and a hauntedso great, writing-wise, there’s 25+ years something really different and amazing. house experience. At a haunt, you’reof experience behind me—I just make fighting for mastery of the situation ~ 10 ~
  10. 10. THE HISTORY OF HALLOWEEN ScaryVisions .comwith other people in the real world. More Books About Halloween:Haunts, in a way, build communities ofwarriors. Rather than using Halloween’shorror-filled imagery to indict theholiday, we could honor this one nightwhen we can be the powerful, bloodycreatures we are. When we can let themonsters out....More Links About Lesley:Halloween: A HistoryImagining HalloweenThe World According To GourdsOutline Of AppearancesBiographyBoston Phoenix InterviewEmail: bannatyn@fas.harvard.eduThe following pictures will direct you tomy affiliate link on If youbuy anything after being directed totheir website, I will get a smallmonetary donation for your purchase.Thank You for you reading this book. ~ 11 ~