A closer look at Halloween traditions

November 5, 2017 GMT

Editor’s note: This article was written by a Stamford High School student and published in the school’s newspaper, The Round Table. The Stamford Advocate is republishing the article as part of a collaboration with Stamford Public Schools.

In recent years, Halloween has become one of the most celebrated holidays in America. Kids dress up as ghosts, celebrities and cartoon characters to go out and collect candy.

The holiday has also sprouted tons of iconic movies. But how did this holiday start? Why Oct. 31 every year? And why do kids dress up to get free candy? There are tons of questions people have about this holiday. Here’s a crash course.


This holiday started sometime in the 1800s in Europe. During that time, Halloween was known as Hallow’s Eve. It is placed on Oct. 31 because the day after — Nov. 1 — is All Saints Day. Supposedly, Halloween has actually been around for about 2,000 years and was a part of a Celtic festival. The people who celebrated this thought that on this night, the living and the dead were in one dimension together. The spirits who once roamed this Earth would always return on Oct. 31.

The idea of kids dressing up on Halloween sprouts from the same Celtic holiday. During the festival, they would dress up in animal skin. Celts would also dress up to disguise themselves as spirits and the dead, so when they came back during the festival, they would not think they were humans. It’s kind of ironic how people now dress up as zombies, vampires, and many different types of horrifying creatures, because the Bible specifically says that humans should not celebrate these types of creatures. Over the years, Halloween went from a religious holiday to one that is all about partying, and is almost completely different from the original intent.

The history of trick or treating is also interesting. It sprouts from children who used to go out on Thanksgiving and beg for food. Trick or treating as we know it did not actually start until the late 1940s. And finally, the reason people carve pumpkins during the Halloween season is because the Celts did so to honor the souls who had yet to enter heaven.

Thomas Murray is a Stamford High School student and writer for the school’s newspaper, The Round Table.