Here's to making a scary good impression!
The origins of Halloween date back more than a thousand years. Originally known as the Celtic festival Samhain and celebrated on November 1st, it was believed that on that day the dead returned from their graves. To protect themselves from these ghouls, people lit bonfires and dressed up in costumes. This belief that the dead rose from their graves is why we associate them with Halloween in modern times.
Halloween quickly began to spread to different countries across the world. Soon, fall festivals began incorporating elements of Halloween into their celebrations, and many Irish immigrants to America brought with them traditions of the holiday that remain staples to this day.
Trick-or-treating began to gain popularity in the United States in the early 20th century, as Irish and Scottish communities revived their historical custom of “guising”. Guising is a tradition in which a person would dress in costume and perform some form of entertainment or trick in exchange for a piece of fruit or other treat. By 1950, trick-or-treating had become one of Halloween’s most popular activities in the United States, while the holiday itself has grown to become one of the nation's most celebrated.
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*Historical information about Halloween is credited to Don Vaughan's Britannica article "Why Do We Celebrate Halloween?"