The Halloween customs we celebrate each October 31st began long ago.  They came from the ancient Celtic festival of Samhain. The Celtic people lived about 2,000 years ago in an area which we now call Ireland, the United Kingdom, and France.  The festival of Samhain marked the end of summer, the harvest season, and the beginning of their new year.  The Celtic people believed that on the night of October 31st , the ghosts of the dead returned to earth.  They built huge bonfires and dressed in costumes to frighten the ghosts.  The Celtics also offered the ghosts good things to eat.

The modern customs of Halloween are similar to the customs of the Celtic people because many immigrants came to America and brought their beliefs and traditions with them.   The carving of a Jack-O-Lantern is thought to come from the tradition of Irish children.  They would carve potatoes or turnips and light them for their Halloween celebrations.  The name Jack came from an Irish man who people thought was so wicked neither heaven or the devil wanted him. Jack is thought to have roamed the earth looking for a place to rest.

Trick or Treating is thought to have come from the English people when they celebrated the religious  festival of “All Saints Day.”  On this day, the poor would beg for food and would be given “Soul Cakes” to pray for the souls of the relatives of rich people.

Halloween in America is celebrated on October 31st. The celebrations are held in towns, schools, churches, and homes.  Most children still dress in costumes and continue to trick or treat in safe neighborhoods or attend festivals at churches or schools.

Students will be asked to complete a series of assignments from below in conjunction with the modern day festival we call Halloween.


Kids Clip Art


Halloween Poetry
Halloween Tales (Halloween Story Planner)


Copyright Information

Title:  Halloween
Author:  Unknown
URL:  http://www.xtec.es/~cmallol3/projecte/festivals/halloween/history/history.htm as adapted from http://www.tooter4kids.com/pumkins/history.htm (no longer avaiable)
Certain materials herein are included under the fair use exemption of the U.S. Copyright law and have been prepared according to the educational multimedia fair use guidelines and are restricted from further use. This work may be protected by further copyright, reproduction and distribution in violation of United States Copyright Law is prohibited.