Halloween Day | Origin, Definition, Traditions, History, & Facts

halloween Day

Fall is here. And so is the series of festivals and reasons for celebrations. Among this series is the most awaited Halloween Day. Celebrated every year on October 31, this spooky delight is just around the corner. And here’s the time to have fun with creepy treats, scary costumes, crazy party games, and horror movies and stories.

During the holiday, people enjoy it in various ways like giving out treats. Some others request a trick in which kids joke or trick for treats. People decorate their houses to make them look as spooky as possible. Jack-o-lanterns, black cats’ or witches’ images, or fake cobwebs are among the decorative items. 

What Does Halloween Mean?

If you are wondering, what is Halloween day, here is the answer to your query:

The word “Halloween” comes from All Hallows’ Eve. It means “hallowed evening” and the word hallow is taken from the Middle and Old English words that denote ‘holy’. This name dates back to medieval Christianity.

During that time, All Saints’ Day was known as All Hallows’ Day and the evening mass on the previous day was called All Hallows’ Eve. These three words later turned into a new name – Halloween.

Why is Halloween Celebrated?

To know about the origin of Halloween celebration or the history of Halloween, take a virtual time trip back to almost 2500 years! It was at this time when Samhain – an ancient Celtic festival used to be celebrated on 1st November.

To understand it better, let’s see a few different beliefs on this:

  • People believed that on this day, the souls of the dead returned to their homes. So, they started dressing up in innovative costumes and lit bonfires. They believed that all this will ward off spirits.
  • The festival marked an important time of the year – the change of seasons. However, some cultures believe that during this time the boundary between this world and the next becomes thin. And it becomes a breeze to connect with the dead. 
  • Yom Kippur – a Jewish holiday, which occurs in October, too shares a similar idea. The festival makes people pray for the dead. 

Thus, Halloween Day gains its “haunted” connotations from this connection to the dead. It is noteworthy that with All Saints Day, All Hallows’ Eve arrived on October 31 as an effort to replace a pagan occasion with a religious celebration.

Halloween Costumes and Trick-or-Treat: Horror with Sweet Flavors

Hundreds of years ago, people dressed up as saints. They used to go door-to-door while reciting verses or singing songs. Kids too went door to door asking for “soul cakes” – a treat just like biscuits. And from here began the tradition of dressing up in unique costumes as well as trick-or-treating.

With the course of time, Halloween costumes evolved. Young Scottish and Irish pranksters started dressing up in a spooky fashion so as to scare away the neighbors. It was fun, ghostly, and creative, and became an inseparable part of Halloween night.

The candy-grabbing custom followed. In the early to mid-1900s, it became mainstream in the U.S. And families began treating their kids, hoping that they won’t get prone to any holiday pranks.

Major Halloween Traditions

October takes over grocery stores with ample frightening costumes, decor, candy and other treats. Although various parts of the planet celebrate Halloween, the festival is enjoyed the most in the U.S. with major Halloween traditions.

Infusing life and horror quotient into Halloween Day, here are some traditions of the festival, complete with some local iterations:

  • Making Jack-o’-Lanterns

Pumpkin carving or Jack-o’-Lanterns light up almost every house porch during the festive season. It is one of the much-loved traditions so much so that there is an NY town dedicated to pumpkin exhibits.

  • Wearing Spooky Costumes

Who doesn’t like dressing up? And when it is about getting ready the spooky way, the fun manifolds. You can choose from a vast variety like mummies, cartoon characters, ghosts, animals, and zombies. Also, face painting around October 31 is common. There is a sea of detailed and craziest Halloween costumes.

  • Trick-Or-Treating

The name is baffling as there are no tricks, just a lot of treats. On  October 31 evening, kids dress up the spookiest way, go door to door in the neighborhood, and say “Trick or treat!” at each. This way, kids dress up as their favorite characters and celebrate the holiday. 

  • Scary Stories And Horror Movies

Ah! Story time. After all, what’s a Halloween celebration without sharing some scary stories and watching horror movies? Tell some tales of terror and watch about devils, ghosts, and creepy creatures on reels to highlight the spooky spirit of the day. Do listen to the Legend of Sleepy Hollow – a gothic story by American author Washington Irving. Among movies, Halloween Kills, a 2021 American slasher film, is a must-watch. 

  • Visiting Haunted Houses

Add creepiness to the festival with this crazy activity. No, you don’t have to visit the real ones like Amity Ville, just those in the neighborhood that are decorated as horror mazes. You can also visit the theme-based haunted houses, where lights and creepy elements set the ghostly scene.

Apart from celebrating the festival with traditions, people enjoy it in various other ways like lighting bonfires, hosting parties, apple bobbing, and divination games. Many schools host costume parades and award students with the most creative costumes.

Lesser Known Halloween Facts

Since Halloween Day is such a popular holiday, people usually know the basics about it. But have you ever thought that there are several hidden aspects that a majority of people don’t know about it?

So, here are some of the fascinating facts about Halloween, in case you haven’t heard about them:

  • Halloween is the second-largest commercially celebrated holiday in America with gross sales of more than $8 billion!
  • “Jack o’lantern” hails from the Irish legend of Stingy Jack.
  • The number of the most lit jack-o’lanterns on display is 30,581 (so far).
  • Trick-or-treating comes from “souling”.
  • Michael Myers’ mask is actually a William Shatner mask.
  • Although, not a fact but not-so-famous Halloween Horror Nights 2022 beckons all Halloween lovers. This is the premier Halloween event, which enhances your delight with the scary, spooky, and creepy. It is held at Universal Studios in Los Angeles and Orlando.
  • Candy corn was originally known as Chicken Feed.
  • Halloween folklore is about magic and fortune-telling.
  • The Day of the Dead should really be called Days of the Dead
  • Des Moines has a hilarious tradition called Beggars’ Night.

Creepy Halloween Decor Ideas

You are on your toes for the Halloween celebrations, but not sure about the decoration that looks creepy enough. So, here are some of the suave yet whimsical decoration ideas to take your Halloween fever up the notch. 

  • Creepy Candles

Transform your candles into creepy charms with antique-style candle holders and wine-turned-potion bottles. 

  • Tableware

Set your Halloween Day table with dazzling white sheets and pop some orange and black striped paper plates, glasses, napkins, and straws. Add some dried, leafless, manicured plants for extra spookiness. Add embellishments such as spooky printables with “Boo” or “Happy Halloween!” on those. 

  • String Lights

Set white fairy lights all over the house, half shrouded under the semi-transparent sheets for that spooky effect. Put some handmade, tiny, black paper bats on these strings. Viola!  

  • Paper Jack-o-lanterns

Loved the pumpkin scares carved out of the veggie. Prepare some with paper and put them together in a string. These will enhance your overall decor. 

  • Cobwebs

Grab some parchment paper and puff paint. And spruce up your table mats with DIY cobwebs with the paper and paint. Let these creative yet Halloween-theme craft pieces adorn your dining area or fireplace. 

  • Florals

You can never go wrong with floral decor. Even if it is Halloween, put some elegantly dried flowers as your table centerpiece or on the mantlepiece. Fall flowers bring you a plenty of options to pick from.

Spooky And Savory Halloween Treats

When your kids ask you, “why do we celebrate Halloween?”, tell them the history. And with your delish Halloween delicacies give them another reason to celebrate it. Here are some of these toothsome treats:

Monster Pizza Bites

Pizza! The name infuses happiness. Imagine how much more it will be when you give it a monster twist. Put black olives on every slice to give a hint of eyes on it. 

Scary Sugar Cookies

Cut the cookie dough in Halloween-themed cutters and frost the spookiest way you like. 

Mummy Meatballs

Wrap meatballs in dough strips to give them a mummy-like look and bake. Savor with your favorite appetizer and condiments.

Spooky Spinach Dip

Include some spinach in your party treats for a creepy serving. Prepare a spinach dip and put it in a bread bowl, which is shaped into a cauldron. Enjoy it with tortilla chips, shaped like a pumpkin. 

Pumpkin Pie Cheesecake Dip

Halloween brings in a lot of pumpkin flavors so there will be no dearth of these at your party as well. Whip up a delicious pumpkin-flavored cheesecake dip. serve it in a pumpkin-shaped dish with graham crackers or pretzels.

Candied Apples

Give a Halloween twist to the traditional candied apples. Serve these treats as poison and replace caramel with all-black toffee to gobble with.

Candy Corn Cupcakes

Prepare yellow and orange batter to make some candy corn-themed cupcakes. Top the cupcakes with candy corn pieces and creamy marshmallow frosting.

How Many Days To Halloween?

And if you are checking the calendar while waiting for this exciting and thrilling festival of the fall, know that it is just 16 days away from today. Share the count with your loved ones if they are asking “how many days until Halloween?” while prepping up for the fest.

Therefore, you still have ample time in hand to prepare well for the celebrations of this scary festival. The good thing is that it is celebrated in a fun-filled way that further enhances its charm. Laced by its own traditions and reasons to follow the same, Halloween is not just a festival or a holiday, it is today, a way to enjoy the season’s mood.

With leaves turning orange, yellow, red, and brown, and the air turning crisp; this is the perfect time to indulge in some bone-chilling experiences.
So now you know, why do we celebrate Halloween. It’s time to start with the celebrations. Dress up and decorate your houses in a spooky way.

All set for the frightful and fun festival? Have a happening and spooktacular Halloween!

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What are the 5 traditions of Halloween?

The 5 common Halloween traditions are:

  • Carving Jack-o’-Lanterns 
  • Trick-or-treating
  • Wearing scary costumes
  • Telling scary stories
  • Visiting haunted houses

Who celebrates Halloween the most?

People in the United States celebrate Halloween in unique ways. Additionally, Ireland, Mexico, Italy, and Portugal also enjoy Halloween.

Why do we give out candy on Halloween?

The trick-or-treat tradition evolved in the United States. Parents wanted to have an activity to keep their kids out of trouble. So, they started giving soul cakes, popcorn balls, etc. to kids in the neighborhood. Later, candy became more popular than soul cakes and other homemade sweets. So, kids started receiving those as sweets.

Halloween Day | Origin, Definition, Traditions, History, & Facts

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