The History of Halloween


Most may know Halloween as a time to see children dressing up and eating sweets, however it has a deep seated origin which can be traced back 2000 years to the Celts in Ireland and Britain who celebrated their new year on November 1 and Hallows Eve the night before.

This video provides some background to the history.

An instantly recognisable symbol of Halloween is the pumpkin, which appears to stem from an Irish legend about a man named Stingy Jack, who tricked the devil into not taking his soul.

When Jack died, he was not permitted into heaven but was also banned from hell. The devil however, gave Jack a single ember to place in a hollowed-out turnip, to light his way in the darkness between the two worlds.

Jack became known as Jack O’Lantern. 1

These days families share the task of scooping out pumpkins, carve happy or ugly faces , then illuminating them in the lead up to Halloween.

Artists, being artists find all sorts of ways to translate the occasion. Some examples below include a carousel, Humphrey Bogart: here’s looking at you kid, a beautiful owl and some interpretations of Vincent van Gogh’s art works.

Trick-or-treating as we know it today—going from house to house in search of candy and other goodies—has been a popular Halloween tradition in the United States and other countries for an estimated 100 years. Yet the origins of this community-based ritual, which costumed children typically savor while their self-conscious parents grudgingly tag along, still remains a bit hazy.

Today, Americans spend billions annually on Halloween. It is the nation’s second-largest commercial holiday. 1


In Australia Halloween is popular too, groups of children dress up and hit their neighbourhood trick or treating. As with so many things 2020 will be a very different Halloween, trick or treating is unlikely however the children around the suburbs of Melbourne, are having fun decorating their front fences and gardens, as you can see below.

Happy Halloween to those that celebrate this occasion.