Monday, October 5, 2009

Halloween, A Brief History

Halloween has it's roots in the beliefs of the Druid priests of ancient Gaul and Britain. They believed that witches, demons and spirits of the dead roamed the streets and countryside on the evening before November 1. Bonfires were lit to drive the bad spirits away, delectable things to eat were laid out to ward off any of the spirits mean tricks or mischief, and the druids would disguise themselves to fool the spirits into thinking that they were numbers of their own company so as not to be harmed. So today we celebrate Halloween by playing trick or treat, dressing in costumes and wearing masks on the evening of October 31, or Halloween.

Later the Catholic Church set aside November 1 to honor all the saints calling it All Saints Day or Hallows Day. The night before was called All Hallows Eve. Eventually the two festivals became one and All Hallows Eve was shortened to Halloween.

In Victorian times entertainment such as fortune telling and games to predict who you would marry and the like became a big part of the Halloween festivities celebrated at fall parties. It was believed the veil between the past and the future was lifted on All Hallows Eve. Among the many superstitious games and beliefs at the time, a young Victorian woman believed that if she looked into a mirror at midnight on that evening, she would see her future husband. The holiday was also celebrated by sending popular Halloween postcards to family and friends.

The first city wide observance of Halloween did not happen until 1921 in Anoka, Minnesota, followed by New York in 1923 and Los Angeles in 1925. Halloween has always been about community, who we are and what we believe in, and imagination and generosity.


  1. Great! I love your write up of the history of Halloween, and those are gorgeous postcards! It's one of my fave holidays.

  2. Great post and thanks for the Halooween images!

  3. These are fabulous images, wow. Boy they just dont do it like that these days, huh?

  4. Nice blog overall, Maureen! I also loved the Halloween images and story. I had been here before from Etsy. I wish you great success.


Related Posts with Thumbnails