By MARISSA AYALA
Between the line of Fall and Winter, Halloween is a time of celebration and superstition. It is thought by many to have originated with the ancient Celtic festival of Samhain, where people would light bonfires and wear costumes to scare off roaming ghosts. In the eighteenth century, a man, Pope Gregory III, designated November 1st to honor all the saints and martyrs. All Saints’ Day introduced and added some of the traditions of Samhain. Halloween was not always specified this way; before it received its official status, it was called All Hallows’ Eve. Over time, it became a community-based event, including child-friendly activities such as trick-or-treating. In a number of countries, people continue to usher the winter seasons with soirees, sweet-treats, and costumes.
The celebration of Halloween was extremely limited to New England due to its rigid Protestant belief systems. The holiday became much more known in Maryland and southern colonies. Later, as Halloween progressed, the beliefs and customs of European ethnic groups and American Indians meshed. This is when a new “American version” of Halloween began to emerge.
The first celebrations began with “play parties”, public events which were held to celebrate the harvest. These parties included neighbors sharing their stories of the dead and telling each other’s fortunes, dancing, and singing. Although it has not always stayed this way, many festivities have changed throughout the years. The well-known jack o’lanterns were not always made for decorations, but they in fact helped and were made to scare the ghosts and protect the houses.
By the nineteenth century, annual autumn festivities were common. However, Halloween was not a grand holiday that was celebrated in all of America, yet. In the second half of the nineteenth century, European immigrants flooded America and brought numerous new Halloween customs. This helped popularize the celebration of Halloween immensely. The 1930’s marked the first time that a mass amount of costumes appeared in shops. After a few decades, the New York Halloween Parade kicked off in 1974. Throughout the years, reinventions of the once known costumes to ward off the ghosts have now become a thing of tales in today’s times.