When Oct. 31 rolls around every year, costumes come out, pumpkins get carved and candy gets eaten. Halloween is the one day of the year when people can pretend to be whoever they want. Kids dress up as their favorite superheros, princesses or even monsters. It is also the one day where it’s ok to eat food given to you by random strangers. Everyone knows how to celebrate Halloween, but not many know exactly why we celebrate this holiday. Why do we dress up in costumes? Why do we go knocking door to-door saying “Trick-or-Treat?”
This bizarre holiday began with the tradition of the ancient Celtic festival: Samhain. During this festival, they would stand around bonfires and dress up in costumes in order to scare away the “ghosts.” This is all fine and well, but how did this tradition turn into passing out candy and carving jack-o-lanterns? The tradition of passing out candy began not too long ago, in the 1930s. The Celtic tradition turned into a tradition of Christianity, and the poor Christians would go door-to-door praying in exchange for “soul cakes.” As this evolved, children began to knock on doors in their costumes in order to get “soul cakes,” which eventually turned into candy.
Of course, Halloween did not take off right away. It did not used to be the biggest candy-selling time of year nor did people spend fifty dollars on a costume. Now, as a whole, the United States buys nine million pounds of pounds of chocolate alone during Halloween time! A total of 3,000 tons of candy are sold in the United States during Halloween. That weighs the same as 2,150 cars!
Halloween is a holiday that people of all ages look forward to, no matter what religion or race. I think this holiday is important, because it can bring all sorts of different people together who are different in so many ways. The tradition of dressing up in the most outrageous costumes, scarfing down pounds of candy and saying “Trick-or-Treat” should be celebrated, even in the snow this year!