The Origin of Halloween and How to Stay Safe Celebrating

By: Katarina Knoff

When we think of Halloween nowadays, we consider it a happy holiday filled with spooky decorations, funny costumes and handing out candy to trick-or-treaters. Have you ever wondered just how Halloween originated and turned into what we celebrate every October 31? Here is the Halloween 4-1-1, and some tips to keep you and your family safe while participating in the celebration.

The tradition of Halloween was derived from an ancient Celtic festival of Samhain where, in an attempt to ward off spirits, people would light bonfires and dress up in costumes. The Celts were people who lived 2,000 years ago, mostly in the area that is now Ireland, the United Kingdom and northern France. They celebrated their new year on November 1. The day signified the ending of summer and the harvest and the start of the dark, cold winter, a time of year that was often tied with human death. 

During the eighth century, Pope Gregory III designated November 1 as the day to honor all saints. This was known as All Saints Day, and it incorporated many of the Samhain traditions. The night before became known as All Hallows Eve, which later became known as Halloween.

In the late 1800s, there was a movement in America to shape Halloween into a holiday that emphasized community and neighborly get-togethers rather than about ghosts, pranks and witchcraft. Over time, the holiday evolved to the Halloween we celebrate today, including activities like carving pumpkins, trick-or-treating and festive parties. 

Halloween is rich in history and is one of the most popular celebrated holidays. Like any large celebration, there are safety risks that go along with the traditional activities.

Here are a few tips recommended by to keep everyone safe while they celebrate this year:

  • Take glowsticks or flashlights when trick-or-treating in the dark and use reflective tape or stickers on costumes.
  • Wear light colors to help kids see and be seen by drivers.
  • Accompany kids under age 12 for trick-or-treating.
  • Slow down and be alert! Kids are excited on Halloween and may dart into the street. Turn on headlights early in the day to spot kids from further away.
  • Remind kids to cross the street at corners or crosswalks.
  • When selecting a costume, make sure it is the right size to prevent trips and falls.
  • Choose face paint over masks when possible. Masks can limit vision.
  • Don’t eat any candy that has been opened or appears to have been tampered with.

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