Story by Lydia Kicklighter

Photo courtesy of WikiMedia

Pumpkin shaped Little Debbie cakes, Halloween Express and 15 pound bags of candy.  All of those scream one word: Halloween. October 31st.  

For some, Halloween is an excuse to put on a too-short skirt, low cut tank top, and be a “nurse.”  But for others,  it’s just a fun night to pretend to be someone else and overdose on candy.  

In addition, there are an abundance of ready-made costumes available for purchase that are the appropriate length, cut, and character for every age.  You can even make your costume from clothes lying around the house, so the excuse that ‘all costumes that fit teenagers are unsuitable for them’ is just plain ignorant.

But costumes and candy are not all that encompass the last day of October.  Of course, pumpkin, pumpkin, pumpkin. Lattes, cookies, cakes, carving contests, seeds; the list goes on and on.  

And while pumpkin is also an integral part of Halloween and the fall season, there are (believe it or not) more important things that envelop the season of fall and the holidays.  Family, friends and togetherness.  

The holiday season is known as a time to be together with people that mean the most, and Halloween is the first holiday that kicks it off.  It sets the tone for the rest of the year, filled with love, family and of course, candy.  And what better way to start of the season of thankfulness and fellowship than scaring the ones closest to you like never before.

But some may say that Halloween is just a capitalistic holiday with no history and importance, only for consumers to buy an excess amount of candy and a costume that they’ll never wear again.  But those naysayers are incorrect.

Halloween originated with the Celtic festival of Samhain, the most important holiday of the Celtic calendar, where they would light bonfires and wear costumes to ward off evil spirits that come back to earth to hurt crops.  

This holiday was the night before the Celtic new year, which symbolized the end of summer and the harvest, and the beginning of a dark, cold winter, associated with death.

In the eighth century, Pope Gregory III made November 1 All Saint’s Day, and used some of the traditions of Samhain, but this time to honor saints and martyrs.  He ‘created’ this holiday out of the one that already existed, to not completely takeout pagan holidays, just to make them Catholic acceptable.  

He also deemed the night before All Saint’s Day All Hallows’ Eve, again, to not obliterate the Celtic holidays, but make them acceptable to the Catholic religion he was trying to convert people to.

Halloween does still have some historical and cultural significance in our culture, it has just changed over time to be more child and consumer friendly.  While Halloween does help the economy with all of the sugary candy purchased during the season, 25% of all candy bought in the United States is bought around Halloween, it still has historical influence throughout the country and the world.