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Every year on October 31, we see people in costumes roaming the streets with only one common goal- the search for candy. They knock on doors and hold out bags while reciting the ever-famous line “Trick or Treat”. We have often wondered why so many people of all religions celebrate Halloween. As you will find out, Halloween has a much deeper meaning than we have ever imagined.
It all started in what is now known as France and the British Isles. The Druids, followers of a Celtic religion called Druidism, dreaded October 31. On this night, they would have to hold a festival in honor of Samhain, the Lord of the Dead. The Druids deeply feared this deity, and in order to please him they held cruel bonfires in which they sacrificed animals, human prisoners, and criminals while they were still living! Why on earth would a people do such a terrible thing? Well, the Druids believed that when they saw these animals and humans die, they could see omens of the future. That included both good and bad omens. The powers of prediction were regarded as the strongest on October 31. On this day and this day only, the spirits were allowed to run free and wild. If the spirits were treated correctly, they would help the Druids with their predictions. But if the Celtic people did not honor the formerly living, they would be in BIG trouble and have to endure punishment for the entire community.
Where did the tradition of dressing up in costumes come from? Well, the Druids thought that if sprits would be free to roam around unsupervised, some of them would take advantage and do evil deeds. They wanted to keep the mischief down to a minimum, so they dressed up in frightening masks and costumes to scare the evil sprits away. Also, if they were dressed abnormally, the bad spirits would not be able to recognize them to punish them individually. Thus, the origin of the costume.
Trick or treating is actually a very understandable tradition. On October 31, the Druids left out candy and food on their doorsteps. This was simply for the hungry spirits to eat so that a disturbance would not occur.
The Jack O’ Lantern is said to have been of use to also drive evil spirits away. Druids carved a hole in a pumpkins or large turnips and placed a candle in it to scare away bad spirits.
There have been many issues on the controversy of Halloween. Some say it’s just a harmless holiday to make little kids happy, but others argue that it worships Satan and should be banned from certain areas. I have read and seen countless articles on the following topics: how certain religious groups should not celebrate Halloween, what Christians and other followers of religions should do on Halloween, Halloween and the occult, the “dark side” of Halloween, intentional poisoning of Halloween candy, and many others.