Halloween originates back thousands of years ago, to the time when the ancient Celtic used to celebrate the end of a long harvest season and the beginning of the darker time of the year. They believed that Halloween, or Samhain, was the time of the year when the veil between the dead and the living was thinnest, and so they lit bonfires, baked and offered fruits and vegetables freshly harvested to help the dead transition into the realm of the dead.
Some trace the traditional ‘trick or treat’ to this date, when people would leave drinks and food at their doorstep to placate the dead – or fairies – and keep them from causing harm or mischief to the living.
In early Christianity, the church viewed Samhain as an evil, pagan celebration, and so set about ‘redirecting’ the Celtic belief by naming November 1st ‘All Saints day’, also known as ‘All Hallows day’ whereupon the church instructed its followers to feast and celebrate to all THE saints. A few centuries later, when the church realized Samhain was too old a belief for the Celtic folk to replace, the church created ‘All souls day’, set on November second, where everyone would pray for the souls of the dead.
Considering that more than a thousand years have passed and Halloween is still celebrated, I’d say the church succeeded only in combining and prolonging the holidays.
I’m not sure when children began custom dressing, but in the past, in rural areas where homes were set half a mile apart, adults would park their automobiles near churchyards, parks and schools; and ‘trunk or treat’ the children out of the trunks of their vehicles.
Today Halloween is a friendly time that kids and adult enjoy alike, a time for custom dressing, baking, games and getting together.
I believe Halloween to be a fun time for kids, one where adults all around take the time to participate and arrange friendly games for the children, so, despite the customs being those of monsters, I don’t believe Halloween to be an evil holiday. Where I live, if Halloween is celebrated, it is within homes and between friends. Kids don’t celebrate it trick or treating from house to house, even if Halloween is something more than half the population know about or have enjoyed at a point in some other country.
For the perfect Halloween sweet treat see our recipe for ‘soul cakes’
For more Halloween must read books and must see movies see: