Halloween was not always about the tricks from those rotten teenagers or the treats from the lovely old lady down the street. No, it is darker, the time of year linked with human death.
It all dates back to the ancient Celtic festival of Samhain 2,000 years ago in Ireland. The Celts believed that on the night before the new year (Samhain), the boundary between the worlds of the living and the dead became blurred. They would leave food and drinks in front of the door to protect them from rooming spirts. When the Celts needed to go outside, they would wear a mask to blend in with the alleged spirits.
In the 8th century, the Christian church turned Samhain into All Hallows and the day before would be called All Hallows’ Eve which landed on October 31. As we know, now it was later changed to Halloween.
Medieval Britain would be our last stop before American and is where we obtained most of our traditions. On All Souls Day (November 2) the poor and needy would go door to door asking for pastries know as Soul Cakes, and in return, they would promise to pray for the dead. Whether that be relatives, friends or anyone to keep evil spirits out. This practice was known as Souling.
Guising, on the other hand, is where young people dress up in scary costumes going around accepting food, wine, and even money. All for the exchange singing, speaking poetry or telling jokes.
In the 19 century, Halloween arrived here in the states and now its the second largest profitable holiday next to Chrismas. Halloween is a billion-dollar business, in fact, spending will hit a record of $9.1 billion this year, while purchases will surpass by 8.3% of the previous all-time high of $8.4 billion of 2016.
Q&A with Tyquan Holloway
I talk to Tyquan Holloway, a Radford student majoring in game design, about what he thinks Halloween means to him.
Dylan Lepore: What does Halloween mean to you, whether that be from when you were younger or now as an adult?
Tyquan Holloway: I feel like Halloween is just like a time of year for kids to get free candy.
Dylan: What did you do when you were younger?
Tyquan: Just walk around the neighborhood in my costume, knock on doors, get candy from people. Pretty much everything that normal kids do on Halloween.
Dylan: Did you do anything special with your family or friends?
Tyquan: Sometime we would go to haunted mansions and stuff. We would go through this house and walk through it, and people would jump out and scare you.
Dylan: What do you think about Halloween now?
Tyquan: I do not know. I mean I am old enough to the point that I am not dressing up in a costume and like going out door to door saying “Trick-or-Treat” looking for some candy. I am more into the scary part. I will still go into a haunted house and have people jump out and stuff, Even though it scares the crap out of me. I will still do it.
Dylan: Now I would like to hear what you think after everything I just told you about the history and what Halloween is meant to us today? (Having already said everything previously mentioned above).
Tyquan: I think many people took advantage of cultures and history from the past and made it so they could profit from it. Which kind of sucks.
Dylan: And how do you feel about that?
Tyquan: I mean it does not affect mean.
Dylan: Are you planning on doing Halloween this year?
Tyquan: Yeah, I plan on going to a haunted house with some friends, but that is pretty much it.
Dylan: Will you be dressing up?
Tyquan: I do not know yet. See how I am in college so, money is kind of tight right now.
Dylan: Oh, you do not have a billion dollars?
Tyquan: (laughs) I wish!
Jones, Charisse. “Halloween Sales of Candy and Costumes Expected to Break a Record.” USA Today, Gannett Satellite Information Network, 22 Sept. 2017, http://www.usatoday.com/story/money/2017/09/21/halloween-sales-candy-and-costumes-expected-break-record/689153001/.
History.com Staff. “History of Halloween.”History.com, A&E Television Networks, 2009, http://www.history.com/topics/halloween/history-of-halloween.