Origins of Halloween Traditions

Article by: Joaquin Mayo

From spooky jack-o’-lantern decorations, to crowds of children wearing colorful costumes, the Halloween season is officially around the corner. Celebrated every 31st of October, Halloween in today’s society is very much a commercialized event due to the lot of Halloween-themed gifts, decor, and even parties on the day. However, behind all the mystery and superstition lie real traditions aiming to remember the dead and faithful departed.

Halloween, historically  known as Allhalloween, is the night before the Christian feast All Hallow’s Day which is a period in the liturgical calendar when saints, martyrs, and those who have passed are given their proper respects. The roots of this trace even further back to the Celtic festival of Samhain which marked the return of ancient ghosts and spirits to earth. This was because the dark, cold winter season was often associated with death which led to the commemoration of this event even up to this day.

Over the centuries, Halloween, which started out as a deeply religious occasion, eventually became the grand and large-scaled celebration you see today. This in part was because of the contributions of the Americans, as they would hold “play parties” or public celebrations. By the 1920s and 30s, Halloween had already established itself as an American tradition and has since expanded to become only the second largest commercial holiday, now worth $6 billion.

Without a doubt,  this event holds a special place in the hearts of Bearcats through the memories they had formed when they were kids.  Sophomore Jerico B. fondly remembers donning “my favorite misfitting Batman costume” as a child, and that he would “run around the streets of my village looking for my favorite candy bar.” He further adds that “Halloween, while meant to be just good fun and games, gave me the chance to spend time with my family during the holidays.”

Fellow sophomore Peter K. echoes Jerico’s sentiments stating that “my favorite part of Halloween were definitely the haunted houses.” He further explains that “trying out haunted houses has been a tradition in my household since the first one we did in Disneyland.”                                                               

Evidently, Halloween gives ISM students fond memories of days long gone. But as we quickly go through high school, it serves as a reminder that sometimes amidst the stress, one should simply slow down, put on their favorite costume, and enjoy those chocolate Kisses, just as they did as kids.