ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Halloween: When and Where Did Halloween Originate and Why Do People Dress up as Ghosts and Ghouls?

Updated on September 12, 2018
Gabriel Wilson profile image

With the darkest of my thoughts transferred to written words at times I can see the light.

Do You See Faces in The Night Sky?

Halloween 31st of October
Halloween 31st of October | Source
Don't go Visiting Late at Night
Don't go Visiting Late at Night | Source

The Origins of Halloween!

Imagine you're living in the lands of old. It's the end of a bitter cold day. The sun barely showed her pale face and the muddied earth only tells of the darker months to come. You warm blue finger tips by a growing fire. Black smoke rises to the skies, fed by the bones of slaughtered animals. Their flesh now hanging. Their blood congealing. The food for hungry bellies during the bleakest time of the year. A time when the weak die and the old go to their graves; thankful that their bodies won't suffer the onslaught of another deathly winter.

The day is the 31st of October more than 2000 years ago. You're somewhere among the soils to day we know as the separate lands of Eire (Ireland). The fire is the ritual burning of the carcasses of the dead animals slaughtered for the dawning winter. A pagan Celtic celebration at the end of each summer (summer end) Samhain (today Samhain is the Irish word for November); the end of the harvest. The villagers leave their homes and gather about the communal fire. Stories are shared. Food is eaten and more bones burn to cinder ash. Each villager takes a flame from the grand fire on return to their home, to light their own fire from the celebratory bonfire.

The 31st of October is the end of the old Celtic year. A time when the souls of those that have passed come to warm themselves by the fire and sit once more with their relatives. A time when the spirit world is almost at one with the human world. Souls good and evil can pass through the fine line that exists between the two worlds on the eve of November. This was a time to pray for the souls of lost family to enter heaven. Darker souls looked to possess the bodies of the fine and beautiful. Their eagerness to find warm blood caused the villagers to dress like evil demons, therefore avoiding any harm. They would wear ugly masks and long dark cloaks. They coloured their skin with the blood of the slaughtered animals and the blackened earth. The uglier they looked and the darker they seemed, the safer they would be from the spirit ghouls that hunted the solace of a human form. They wore their costumes to defend their bodies from preying evil spirits. Witches, ghouls, vampires, werewolves, the darkest of the night. It was also believed a flame from the celebratory bonfire would keep the demons at bay. Many families carved out a turnip or beet. Placing the flame inside by their window to warn the evil spirits from their doors.

You pray for your lost loved ones and their souls. As you look into the bleak darkness surrounding the amber flames, your prayers are for your own soul and the body that it keeps. An eerie cry sends shivers down your spine. The fine hairs on the back of your neck stand up. You look behind you and pray to God the ugly demon you see is a human in disguise...

More of The Story

A little later on, the landing of the Romans introduced another harvest celebration. Pomona. The Roman goddess Pomona was the goddess of fruit and orchards. Mainly the apple. Perhaps this gives a little perception to the apple bobbing we eagerly carry out at Halloween. Both festivities where combined in celebration and the tradition carried forth.

The 1840s exposed the Celts of Irish shores to the blight of the potato famine. Thousands died of starvation. The stronger and younger Irish took the seas to the land known as the new world, America. Many died seeking their new lives. Crushed by animals they were forced to travel with; disease and drowning. Perhaps starvation was a merciful end after all.

The surviving Irish brought their tradition of Samhain to the new world. The pumpkin was a plentiful replacement for the turnip to scare of the October demons. With the introduction of Catholicism to Irish lands, Samhain become more about the souls that had passed and the praying of their souls to pass through to the next world, heaven. Hence the name Halloween, meaning 'All Hollows Eve'. The eve of what we now know as 'All Saints Day'. The persistent praying for the souls of the dead to find peace and pass from this world to the next.

It's said that beggars would knock on the doors of houses and beg for food in exchange for praying for the households passed loved ones. It was believed the more prayers said the quicker a soul would pass. If food wasn't given the beggar would tell all other beggars and the house and it's dwellers would be passed over. Sometimes a beggar would steel food or damage property when denied. This is where 'Trick or Treat' comes from. Feed me, treat me or reap the rewards.

Carved Pumpkin Heads: made to scare off The Demons and prowling ghouls...

A Pumpkin Head
A Pumpkin Head | Source

Today's Halloween Traditions

It seems our tradition of dressing up as scary figures is old school. Today we scare the living. The original disguise was to scare the dead. We light our bonfires and tell ghost stories. No bones to burn and no beggar to play games. Our treat is sweet and our trick a song. No demon to banish or so it may seem. Halloween, in a nutshell is the original Celtic celebration of a people that lived in lands we know to day as Ireland, the United Kingdom and Northern France. The Celts celebrated the harvest, and the end of the summer. They prayed for the souls of loved ones that passed within that year. A time when demons and witches were very much apart of their lives, and feared mostly on the 31st of October.

Modern day Halloween may be all about dressing up and trick or treating. Perhaps we are still carrying on an old tradition, perhaps our dressing up and our bold tricks are still today what they were more than 2000 years ago. Perhaps the only reason the celebration still exsits is more than just fun. These days we don't like to think of demons and ghouls. Take a minute and think: for 2000 years a celebration on the 31st of October has moved across religion, lands and people to take place just like it did all those years ago; ghouls, bonfires, tricks and treats, our burning lanterns in the windows.

If there are demons out there and they still look for a body to possess on October 31st it's as good a reason as any to don a disguise. And remember: the demons look for the fine and beautiful. God help those that dress the sexy guise, sultry vamps, glamours witches and short nurse skirts.

Me! this year I'm going ugly and cloaked. I'm thinking so ugly no demon will even want to buy me a drink, let alone possess my body...


Have some Halloween fun with a scary mask and a scary movie: both highly recommended for cheesy scary fun...

Scary Mask for Halloween: with the new movie IT out this mask is the perfect scare...

A Great Take on A Classic: turn off the lights and lock the doors...

Halloween Fun

What do you like most about Halloween?

See results

© 2010 Gabriel Wilson

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • Gabriel Wilson profile imageAUTHOR

      Gabriel Wilson 

      6 years ago from Madeira, Portugal

      Tanx for reading and for your time. I'm glad you enjoyed it :)

    • profile image

      JF 

      6 years ago

      this was so cool this is really nice.

    • profile image

      jaydan 

      6 years ago

      this was helful and very interesting.

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://hubpages.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)