The History of Halloween

The History of Halloween

Bayleigh Weber, Opinion Editor

The Forge sat down with Emmaline Gault, sophomore at GMC, and self-proclaimed Halloween enthusiast to inform the readers of The Forge on the history of Halloween. Gault is a devout member of the Catholic religion, so often, her curiosities wander to the history of Catholicism and related institutions. Halloween is one such topic of interest. 

Gault begins our interview by mentioning Samhain, the Pagan celebration from which Halloween first originated. Samhain was an ancient Celtic festival, held to welcome the dark half of the year.

According to, the ancient Celts that celebrated Samhain believed that the barrier between the dead and living was lifted during this time, allowing spirits to wander freely and the souls of those who recently died to go to rest. It was a lively festival! People adorned costumes to ward off any troublesome ghosts, lit the sacred fire, even made a couple sacrifices. 

Gault emphasized in our interview that she does not believe this pagan celebration to be evil or malignant. She reiterated that “Pagan” is an umbrella term and cautioned against generalizing a religion as either “good” or “bad”. reported when the almighty Roman empire conquered Celtic lands, Samhain morphed with other Roman traditions. Feralia, one of the added festivals, was a day in late October when Romans commemorated deaths. Also added was a day honoring the Roman goddess, Pomona. 

(Fun Fact! The symbol of Pomona is an apple, which may explain the tradition of bobbing for apples!) 

The Catholic Church holds a vast amount of influence over the originally Pagan holiday. Gault mentions that “Halloween comes from paganism, but [is] influenced by Catholicism.” 

Gault reported circa the 8th Century, the Pope declared Nov. 1 to be the day celebrating All Saints’ Day; so (just like Christmas Eve) “Hallows Eve” was the name given to Oct. 31. Hallows Eve means “holy evening”, and eventually, the name morphed into Halloween.

As Halloween came to the colonies, different ethnic groups created an especially American version of Halloween.

Who knows if Halloween will continue to change as time passes?