halloween costumes

The Origins of Halloween: Seven Questions & Answers

August 4, 2017 by StageScreen - No Comments

There has always been a bit of mystery shrouded around Halloween. And, of course, that’s the way it should be. When talking about a day dedicated to things like ghosts and spooky costumes, there should be a little bit of confusion about just what we are celebrating, and why.

In this article, we are going to take a quick look at seven questions regarding Halloween.

#1 – Why do we wear costumes on Halloween?

This is a great question, as it is a bit odd to see millions of people – including plenty of adults – dressing up in costumes one day per year. There is no reliable record of the history of Halloween costumes, but it is believed to have been started when people would dress up in animal skins to calm the spirits around them.

#2 – Who started Halloween, anyway?

A common question, most people trace the roots of Halloween back to the Celts many thousands of years ago. Of course, the holiday looked a lot different back then, as the Celts believed that the dead could walk on the earth for this one day each year.

#3 – How did it come to be called Halloween?

Records indicate that this day was originally called ‘Samhain’, but it obviously does not go by that name anymore. What happened is a common story throughout history when cultures come together. Many holidays were blended together, and the day became known as All-hallows Even. Over time, that term evolved into the word ‘Halloween’ that we know today.

#4 – Where did modern Halloween costumes and treats come from?

As is the usually the case when looking at an American tradition, this all goes back to marketing. At some point, businesses realized that they could profit from this annual event, so more and more costumes and Halloween-specific treats began to appear on the market. Like anything else, this didn’t happen overnight – rather it developed over time until it landed on the tradition that it has become.

#5 – Why are pumpkins a part of Halloween?

Originally, carving vegetables was a tradition in Great Britain and Ireland, due to an old Irish myth which had to do with a man named Stingy Jack. Pumpkins didn’t break into this tradition, however, until it made its way across the Atlantic Ocean. One of the first indications of this being a part of the Halloween tradition was recorded in 1866, in Canada as opposed to the United States.

#6 – But why pumpkins?

The pumpkin might seem like something of a random choice as the eventual medium for Jack o’Lantern creation, but it makes perfect sense due to its size and shape. Pumpkins are easy to carve, they are large but not too heavy to lift, and they are affordable to purchase.

#7 – What is candy corn all about?

Our last question relates to the Halloween candy that you either love or hate. Some people can’t get enough of candy corn around the end of October, while others just want it out of their sight. It isn’t clear who invented this snack, but it did start to gain in popularity in the late 19th century. The tri-color design is the same as it was many years ago, although the method of production has improved dramatically.