Happy Halloween! – A Brief History of Halloween

Evil Queen - Halloween Time at the Disneyland Resort 2014
Evil Queen – Halloween Time at the Disneyland Resort 2014

From all of us here at DAPs Magic and Geeks Corner to all of you who follow our news and shenanigans, Happy Halloween! Today is the day that marks the pivot point between the celebration of fall and the falling towards the winter holidays.

A Brief History of Halloween

Halloween is believed to have originated as a festival called Samhain, celebrated by the Celtics some 2000 years ago. People would dress in costumes and build bonfires to ward off ghosts that they believed returned to Earth on October 31. Interestingly enough, October 31st also marked the end of the year and November 1st began a new year. It was believed that it also marked the end of summer and the beginning of the seasons of death that were marked by cold, darkness, and often human death.

During the eighth century Pope Gregory III named November 1st “All Saints’ Day” to honor saints and martyrs. Some of the traditions from Samhain were incorporated into this day. This day would also be called All-Hallows/All-Hallowmas Day (Middle English Alholowmesse meaning All Saints’ Day).  The night before was called All-Hallows Eve, and eventually it would be called Halloween as it is known today.

Halloween was slow in coming to the United States. By the middle of the 19th century though, it was beginning to infiltrate the states as immigrants brought their traditions to the USA with them. It took form mainly in the form of autumn festivals. Trick or Treating came out of some of these immigrant traditions as they would go Irish and English immigrants dressed up in costumes and went from door to door asking for money and food. Young women would also believe that they could do tricks with yarn, apple parings, or mirrors to influence the looks and names of future husbands.

As 1900 drew closer, there was an effort to make Halloween more family friendly. The effort was to supplant the superstition and witchcraft with community and social activities. By the 1920’s, Halloween had become a secular holiday that was based more on entertainment than on religion or superstition. By this time Trick or Treating began to see a revival in a way that is more familiar to most people today. It was seen as an inexpensive way for communities to celebrate Halloween. And obviously, if a house didn’t have candy to give out… it was time for the rare trick to happen. As Trick or Treating began to appear on TV shows, the fad really took off (I wonder how many kids have gotten a rock because of It’s the Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown!).

Today Halloween is a multi billion dollar holiday. In fact, it is the second most commercialized holiday of the year with Americans spending $6 billion annually (Thanks History Channel!).  Millions upon millions of dollars are spent on costumes, candy, decorations, parties, and more! Theme parks build entire publicity campaigns and events around the holiday. Television networks also spend October luring people into their programming with classic, and not so classic, Halloween flicks. YouTube channels… well that’s another whole thing but they go crazy as well! The point being, Halloween has come a long way and is now probably bigger than it has ever been.

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Geeks Corner HalloweenHappy Halloween!

Here at DAPs Magic and Geeks Corner, Halloween is always celebrated. Through the years there have been many different celebrations. This year, we thought we’d share a few of our favorite videos that have been posted on the DAPs Magic and Geeks Corner YouTube channels. These include Halloween Episodes of Geeks Corner, Halloweentime festivities at Disneyland, the music of Ragtime Robert, and Billy Hill & the Hillbillies. We hope you enjoy. And let us know which one is your favorite!


Happy Halloween Everyone!

Make it a GREAT day!

  • Mr. DAPs


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