Halloween: Tricks, treats
By Vampire Viola
What do you know?
How old do you think the celebration of
Halloween is? What’s your best guess?
Do you know where the holiday
originated, or how it’s changed over the
years? Get ready to find out!
Halloween celebrations date back to the
ancient Celts. That’s about 2000 years ago!
They called it Samhain (sow-en).
Halloween isn’t a new holiday, but how did
it become what it is today?
The Celts lived in modern Ireland, England, Northern France and even
parts of Spain. They believed that on the 31st of October spirits (ghosts)
came back to visit the living; this is called “haunting.” Some ghosts were
good and others were evil (bad).
To frighten away the evil spirits, the
ancient Celts wore scary masks when they
went outside at night on the 31st.
Later, in the 800’s, Pope Boniface IV
created the holiday All Saints’ Day on
November 1st to celebrate the saints
and martyrs. Martyrs are people who
die defending their religion
(Christianity). In English, All Saints’
Day was also known as “All Hallows.”
“Hallow” means holy or sacred. The
day before All Hallows was called All
Hallows Eve (just like Christmas Eve
or New Years Eve). Eventually the
name was shortened to “Halloween.”
Halloween in the USA
Immigrants from Europe
brought Halloween to the
United States, but it
wasn’t until the mid
1800’s when Halloween
became popular across the
country. Little by little,
Halloween in the USA
began to change. By the
beginning of the 20th
century, it was no longer a
religious holiday, but still
holiday. People had
Halloween parties and
there were town parades. Children who dress up in costurmes and ask for candy are
called “trick or treaters”
Treats and Traditions
In the 1950’s Halloween became more focused
on young children. The old British Halloween
tradition of going from house to house asking
for food or money was revived in the form of
“trick-or-treating.” This is when children
dressed in costumes knock on their neighbors’
doors asking for candy with the phrase, “Trick
Americans spend $6.9 billion annually on Halloween candy!
Carmel apples and candy corn
are traditional Halloween treats.
What are some scary Halloween symbols?
Here’s some vicious vocabulary for the season.
One of the most famous symbols of Halloween is
the jack-o-lantern, but why? According to Irish
legend, Stingy Jack was a very clever man who
tricked the devil several times. When he died the
devil punished him. His spirit had to roam the
night with only a burning coal to light his way.
Jack put the coal in a carved out turnip to create
a lantern (lamp). He became known as Jack of
the Lantern. People made their own lanterns like
Jack’s to scare away his ghost and other evil
spirits. When colonists arrived in America, they
discovered that pumpkins were perfect for
Now people carve pumpkins in all
different ways, not just the traditional
Putrid Pop quiz:
How old are Halloween
What was the Celtic holiday
Where does the name
Halloween come from?
What does “haunt”
mean? How about
“scary” and “treat”? Can you name some
What is a lantern? Do you
remember the story of
Stingy Jack? What are some
Why do people wear costumes at
How do Americans celebrate
What are trick-or-treaters?