Tricks, Treats, Truth


Jozalyn Rhodes

Photo taken by Jozalynn Rhodes during her visit to the Louisville Jack-o-Lantern Spectacular.

Kaitlyn Wildoner, Staff Writer - The Mustang Messenger

Halloween is one of our very beloved holidays throughout America, but where did it begin? Most scholars believe that it dates back about 2,000 years ago to the Celtic celebration of Samhain (“sow-win.”) This was a festival that celebrated the end of the harvest season, and it embraced the new year. It was held on the night before November 1st, and that’s how we got the date of October 31st for our holiday. The Celtics believed that during Samhain, the window between our world and the dead was at its thinnest, so it was easier to communicate with lost loved ones. Because of this thin veil between worlds, they assumed that during Samhain, their priests could predict the future better. They would light big bonfires in hopes to commune with the unliving. They wore animal heads and skins as costumes during the bonfires and had animal sacrifices to pacify their deities. This is believed to partially be where the idea of Halloween costumes originated from. But they did evolve in the 1900s as Irish and Scottish children would dress up as saints. Or they would put on scary masks to frighten the villagers, and go door to door asking for “soul cakes.” Adults would give them out to children in hopes of preventing any pranks that might be played. This is partially where we get the idea of costumes and trick-or-treating.

When the Romans conquered most of the Celtic land in 43 A.D, they brought their own traditions along. One called, “Feralia,” which was held in October, celebrated the passing of the dead. Pomona is another Roman holiday that celebrated the goddess of fruit. This is one of the reasons for the tradition of bobbing for apples. But this activity has another, stranger origin. During the 1700s, women would perform rituals to find their husbands. Women would throw apple peels over their shoulders expecting their future husbands’ initials to appear in the shapes that the peels fell into. Another husband-finding ritual was standing in a dark room in front of a mirror while holding up a candle as their only source of light, in hopes that their future husband’s face would appear. This makes everyone today think of the creepy myth of the Bloody Mary. By the end of the 1880s, Halloween became more of a happy holiday filled with harmless games and treats.

Photo taken by Jozalynn Rhodes during her visit to the Louisville Jack-o-Lantern Spectacular. (Jozalynn Rhodes)

Halloween, unfortunately, is not currently a federal holiday. Some people have issues with this controversial day, so it’s never been made official. A lot of people across the world believe that Halloween is the devil’s birthday, and even though there are some dark associations with this day, these rumors are false. All should know that celebrating this holiday does not directly reflect negatively on any religion, and the modern version of this day is not demonic. Halloween in 2022 is simply a time for people to dress up, decorate their houses, and enjoy some candy.