Why on Earth do we celebrate Halloween?

Why on Earth do we celebrate Halloween?

It's October 31, which means one thing - it's Halloween.

The weekend was made up of ghouls, zombies, even Ariana Grandes - but where the hell did Halloween actually come from?

Origins date back 2000 years, to the ancient Celtic festival of Samhain. That marked the beginning of Europe's winter - a time of year associated with death.

Celts believed the boundary between the worlds of the living and dead became blurred, and that October 31 was when ghosts of the past returned.

Food and wine would be left on doorsteps to stop ghosts from coming inside and huge, sacred bonfires would be built, where people would sacrifice animals and crops to ward off evil.

The Celts also wore spooky costumes, typically consisting of animal heads and skins.

Christianity later adopted the festival and changed its name to All-Hallows-Eve, the day before All Saints Day on November 1. 'All-Hallows-Eve' was was later shortened to what we know today as 'Halloween'.

By the 1800s, the Halloween tradition had travelled to America - public events were held to celebrate the harvest, and people would share stories of the dead. Children would dress up and perform in exchange for money and food.

By the 1920s, it had become a secular holiday filled with parades, parties and entertainment - and in the 1950s, the idea of trick-or-treating came about as an inexpensive way for entire communities to share the celebrations.

To prevent tricks being played, households started awarding pranksters with treats - thus a new tradition was born.

Today, Americans alone spend almost US$8.5 billion annually on Halloween.

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