Halloween: A Scary Mashup of History and Tradition

So, it’s that time of year again when the air gets a bit cooler and the leaves change colour from green to shades of orange and red. Yep, you guessed it, it’s autumn…and what is our favourite part of autumn….


It means it’s time for costumes, candy and a dash of spookiness. Let’s take a look through the history, and  traditions that make Halloween so much fun. 


A Dash of History:

Halloween goes back centuries and its origins are a mix of Celtic, Roman and Christian. The Celts celebrated a festival  called Samhain, which was to mark the end of the harvest season and welcome the dark, winter days. People in these times believed that on the night of October 31st, the boundary between the living and the dead blurred, and to scare away the ghosts they would light bonfires and dress up in animal skins.

As time went on the Samhain festival was merged with two Roman festivals: Feralia, a day to honor the dead, and a festival dedicated to the goddess Pomona, who was associated with fruit and trees. It was around this time that the tradition of apple bobbing started.

Next up the Christians added to the mix with All Saints´ Day on November 1st, to honour the saints and martyrs. The day before, October 31st, became known as ‘All Hallows’ Eve’…which eventually changed to Halloween!

So, that’s the history, but what about modern Halloween?

Halloween – The USA-way

I don’t know about you, but when I think of Halloween, I think about all those crazy displays outside houses, elaborate fancy dress, trick or treating and scary movies. Where does this commonly happen? The United States of America.

In the USA, Halloween is a full-blown holiday extravaganza! Pumpkin patches appear all over the place and people transform their homes with ghosts, zombies and skeletons. Fancy dress parties are popular, where dressing up as pop culture icons, creepy creatures or even your favorite food is the challenge. 

Pumpkin carving is also big, with people creating a face or a halloween scene on the pumpkin and then putting a candle inside.

Trick-or-treating is the main event, where kids don costumes ranging from cute little pumpkins to terrifying monsters and parade through neighborhoods in pursuit of lots of candy.

Believe it or not, the popularity of Halloween is relatively new to Great Britain, so the experience isn’t as exciting as the USA. When I was young, sometimes there was little a trick or treating and maybe a candy or two. We were more focussed on Bonfire Night on November 5th. What is Bonfire Night you ask? Well check out the next blog in a few days to find out more.

So will you be getting dressed up as a scary creature this year? 

I’m off now to watch my favourite scary movie. Halloween. 


Key Language
  • Mashup (Noun): A combination or blend of different elements, often from various sources, to create something new or unique, such as a musical remix or a fusion of different styles.
  • Yep (Adverb): A colloquial and informal way of saying «yes» or agreeing with something.
  • Dash (Noun): A small amount of something.
  • Spookiness (Noun): The quality of being eerie, scary, or causing a sense of unease or fear, often associated with supernatural or mysterious elements.
  • Look Through (Phrasal verb): To examine or inspect something thoroughly, often by reading or searching.
  • Trick or Treating (Noun Phrase): A Halloween tradition where children dress in costumes and visit houses to receive candy or treats by saying «trick or treat.»
  • Full-Blown (Adjective): Used to describe something that is complete, intense, or in its most advanced or mature state, often used to emphasize the extent of a situation or condition.
  • Don (Verb): To put on or wear clothing, especially in the context of donning a particular outfit or costume.

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