History of Spooky Season

Montana Zdroik

Since ancient times, October 31st has always been a night of scares and monsters. The holiday, Samhain, is the earliest origin

Common Halloween decorations often show a softer side of Halloween or celebrate fall instead. This was the most common Halloween decoration seen around town.

of Halloween we have. The ancient holiday celebrated the end of spring and the start of the winter that came with death. It was believed that on this night the dead came back. Since then, Halloween has changed from century to century in meaning and in traditions.

 This is especially true when the holiday was brought to America. As immigrants and Native Americans’ cultures came together, the holiday not yet known as Halloween became very diverse and popular. Today, Halloween is more about candy and community than scares and monsters.

Trick or treating has become the main event of our modern Halloween we see today. People buy a tremendous amount of candy for trick or treaters each year.  A study from the History Channel shows that 25% of all candy purchased in the U.S. per year is purchased for Halloween. Trick-or-treating wasn’t always a popular Halloween event. 

 The earliest we see people trick or treating is in colonial America, and very few did it, says History Channel. This tradition came to America in the 1800s and is now the main event of Halloween. Madi Labbs, SPASH senior, says that her best Halloween memories come from trick or treating around her neighborhood gathering candy.  

Dressing up in costumes is a very popular Halloween tradition, but it isn’t as scary as it once was.  History Channel says that 2,000 years ago, ancient people celebrated Samhain. During this the people dress up in scary costumes like dead animals in an attempt to tell prophecies. 

Today, the most popular costumes are not scary like they used to be. According to CNN the most popular costumes in 2021 are princesses and superheroes. Ann Zdroik, an adult, says that when she was a kid in the 1970s, her favorite costume was Ms. America. Labbs says that her favorite costume was a ladybug. 

“Night of the Dead”, Lithograph, by Alan Crane illustrates the Mexican holiday The Day of the Dead. Sited from the National Museum of American History.

Halloween was created to celebrate the day that the dead come back, but Halloween beliefs have become significantly less popular and less believed in. “The Night of the Dead ” Lithograph from the Smithsonian depicts the Mexican holiday The Day of the Dead. This is similar to Halloween. On this night, it was believed that dead relatives could come back.

 Today, this picture has a different meaning along with the holiday. Contemporary celebrations of the holiday don’t celebrate loved ones coming back but instead memorialize those lost as stated by the Smithsonian. Many Halloween beliefs have lost believers. The History Channel says that in the Middle ages, people believed in the superstition of the black cat. It was bad luck for them to walk in front of you because it was said that they were actually witches. 

To see if people still believed in the superstition, I asked Madi Labbs, SPASH senior, and Ann Zdroik, an adult, what they thought. They both said that they believe in the balck cat superstition, but not the whole reason behind Halloween, that the dead come back. Interestingly, both said that they don’t know why they believe in the black cat superstition, they “just feel like its true.” 

Halloween today is a lot less scary than it used to be, we go trick or treating for candy, costumes aren’t that scary anymore, and few people still believe in the reason Halloween was created. Even though the spooky part of halloween has become less popular, the holiday today gives the community a chance to get together and participate in fun activities for all ages. There are plenty of fun activities around town that would be perfect for you to do with your family like corn mazes and pumpkin carving. All you have to do is get the family together and pick an activity!