The Evolution of Halloween

Halloweens change from sacrifices to giving away candy


Emma Hillermann

Carving pumpkins is a new time Halloween tradition.

Every year when October rolls around, people across America prepare themselves for the “spooky season” and get ready for Halloween. Decorations are put up, candy is bought and the leaves change color.

At the beginning of October, you begin to see houses transforming into haunted mansions and graveyards, and the green leaves begin to crumble. Homes are decorated with scary clowns and zombies or cute blow up pumpkins and children dress as monsters and princesses. 

Nowadays, Halloween is associated with joy, candy and frights. But what has caused the drastic change from All Hallows Eve to Halloween?

The Gaelic Samhain festival originated “Halloween,” but their Halloween was much different than ours are today. Centuries ago, “All Hallows Eve” was used by the ancient people to end their year, as summer was fading and the cold gloom of winter would be approaching. The people of the festival would light fires and wear costumes to scare off spirits and ghosts, and they would even sacrifice animals. All Hallows Eve was a dark time associated with death and the return of the dead at the year’s end.

Ancient people gathered at the Samhain festival around the bonfires and burnt crops and made sacrifices in hopes to keep themselves safe. All Hallows Eve was not a time of joy and they did not dress up for fun, they dressed up for rituals. Over time, All Hallows Eve transformed into the holiday we now know as Halloween.  

When All Hallows Eve arrived in America, the whole concept of the “holiday” changed. All of the different cultures that thrived in the American colonies began to combine, eventually producing the holiday we today celebrate as Halloween. 

Every year on Oct. 31, people across America do hair and makeup and put on costumes, preparing for their evening of trick or treating. 

Adults make last-minute runs to stock up on candy and other treats to pass out to the passing goblins and ghouls. 

Through the passing centuries, Halloween has changed from a time of darkness to a time of fun, candy and spooks.