Halloween is celebrated on 31st October by numerous people. The last day of October marks the beginning of the three day period during which the dead are remembered, especially saints and martyrs. On Halloween: people dress up (as monsters, supernatural creatures or cartoon/movie characters), carve pumpkins and place them outside of their homes and buy spooky decoration such as spiderwebs, plastic witches and demons, to decorate their homes with. Many centuries ago, people celebrated ‘Samhain’ on the 1st November to mark the end of the harvest and the beginning of winter. The Celtics believed that November 1st marked the new year, and the night before, on the 31st October, the ghosts of the dead returned to Earth for one night. The celtics wore abstract costumes in hopes to predict their futures, positioned candies outside their doors and lit candles along the side of their homes to guide their dead relatives back to where they once lived. Eventually, Roman Christianity took over and marked November 1st as ‘All Souls Day’ which is a combination of Roman and Celtic practices. Before the 31st of October was named Halloween, it was ‘All Hallows Eve’ during which the Celtics would avoid leaving their homes at all costs, however if they were desperate, they would dress up as ghosts or spirits to appear dead if they encountered a wondering spirit. Many people were impoverished and begged for food, and would usually receive ‘Soul Cakes’ in exchange for a promise to pray for their dead relatives, this encouraged ‘trick or treat’ which is still practised to this day. To prevent being played tricks on, individuals handed out sweets, hence the increased sale of sweets and chocolates around the end of autumn. Halloween is the second most popular western holiday after Christmas, which is celebrated just before Diwali (the festival of light). Many people consider Halloween as a holiday where supernatural beings or the devil is worshipped which is simply the untruth. Although over the years Halloween has lost its strong religious recognition, it is still regarded as a significant Christian festival while being also being celebrated by members of other faiths from all around the world.


By Sukhpreet Jagdeo