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Halloween is a holiday celebrated each year on October 31, and also Halloween 2021 will take place on Sunday, October 31. The legacy originated v the old Celtic festival that Samhain, when human being would irradiate bonfires and also wear costumes come ward turn off ghosts. In the eighth century, Pope Gregory III designated November 1 as a time come honor every saints. Soon, all Saints Day included some of the traditions of Samhain. The evening prior to was well-known as every Hallows Eve, and also later Halloween. End time, Halloween evolved into a day of activities like trick-or-treating, carving jack-o-lanterns, festive gatherings, donning costumes and also eating treats.

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READ MORE: Halloween through the Centuries: A Timeline

Ancient origins of Halloween


Halloween’s beginnings date ago to the old Celtic festival the Samhain (pronounced sow-in). The Celts, who lived 2,000 year ago, greatly in the area the is now Ireland, the united Kingdom and northern France, celebrated their new year ~ above November 1.


This day marked the end of summer and also the harvest and also the start of the dark, cold winter, a time of year that was often linked with human being death. Celts thought that on the night before the new year, the boundary between the civilizations of the living and also the dead ended up being blurred. ~ above the night of October 31 they celebrated Samhain, once it was thought that the ghosts of the dead went back to earth.


In addition to leading to trouble and damaging crops, Celts assumed that the existence of the otherworldly spirits made it much easier for the Druids, or Celtic priests, to do predictions around the future. For a human being entirely dependent on the volatile natural world, these prophecies were an essential source of comfort during the long, dark winter.

To commemorate the event, Druids built vast sacred bonfires, whereby the civilization gathered to burn crops and also animals as sacrifices come the Celtic deities. During the celebration, the Celts wore costumes, generally consisting of animal heads and skins, and also attempted come tell each other’s fortunes.


When the celebration to be over, castle re-lit their hearth fires, i m sorry they had actually extinguished previously that evening, native the spiritual bonfire to help protect them during the comes winter.

Did you know? One quarter of every the liquid sold yearly in the U.S. Is purchased for Halloween.


By 43 A.D., the Roman empire had conquered the bulk of Celtic territory. In the food of the 400 years the they rule the Celtic lands, 2 festivals the Roman origin were an unified with the timeless Celtic celebration event of Samhain.

The very first was Feralia, a day in late October when the Romans traditionally commemorated the happen of the dead. The 2nd was a day to honor Pomona, the roman inn goddess of fruit and trees. The symbol of Pomona is the apple, and the organization of this celebration right into Samhain probably describes the heritage of bobbing for apples that is practiced today top top Halloween.

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In the beforehand 20th century, Halloween costumes were geared towards spooky themes (as protest to present events), and also were largely homemade.

Here, ladies dressed as witches heat up for a Halloween portrait, circa 1910.

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The score of early on costumes wasn’t necessarily to dress up as a certain creature or character, yet rather to conceal one's identity in a spooky means that evoked themes prefer ghosts, witches, black cat or the moon.A male dressed in a cat costume for Halloween, circa 1920.

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Since teenage pranksters were well-known to wreak destruction on Halloween night, starting around the good Depression,adults started arranging neighborhood activities like trick-or-treating, haunted houses and also costume parties to keep young civilization from do trouble.

Three girls pose in their masked costumes together they prepare because that Halloween festivities in the university Hill ar of Cincinnati, Ohio, 1929.

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Box costumes were thought about expensive luxuries during the an excellent Depressionera, so most families continued to do their very own Halloween outfits making use of costume patterns,

Children in costumes gather at a Halloween party in Madison, Wisconsin, 1931.

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A human wears his homemade mummy costume in this undated 1930s Halloween photograph.

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As parents urged community tasks for children on Halloween, costumes increased to includecharacters that children might have seen and enjoyed, as in thisundated 1930s photograph of girl holding a Mickey mouse mask.

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These fifth- and sixth-graders preparefor Halloween by developing papier mache masks, 1947.

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In the 1950s, mass-produced box costumes became more affordable, so more kids began to usage them to dress up.Here, children pose as they trick or treat with their costumes and also masks, 1955.

How Donald Duck and also Peanuts conserved Trick-or-Treating

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Costumes in the 1950s also started to take impetus from existing events, such together the start of Sputnik in 1957, as shown in this picture of a couple dressed as Sputnik and a Soviet officer ~ above October 31, 1957 in Los Angeles, California.

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As store-bought costumes became much more affordable, parents might suit up their children for the holiday at the critical minute.

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Halloween masks became more elaborate in the 1960s, as displayed by this store screen from the decade.

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Sometimes a great mask makes up most of the costume, as on this boy, photographed in 1968 together he do the efforts to scare a young girl.

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Other times, great makeup is the key costume element. Here, an 11-year-old KISS pan poses in his Paul Stanley assembly on Halloween.

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Movies came to be popular costume inspirations. Here Star wars characters, C3P0 and Darth Vader, celebrate in ~ Harvard Square in Cambridge, Massachusetts, 1977.

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The 1970s witnessed some much more changes to Halloween costumes. This is the duration when Americans began wearing presidential masks, an especially the most well known one the all: Richard Nixon’s—shown here in 1978.

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“Sexy” execution of costumes for females were common from the 1960s on and also became an created commercial product in the 1990s. Here, awoman dressed like a Playboy rabbit dances in ~ Studio 54 Halloween party in brand-new York City, 1979.

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Box costumes could transform young kids into superheroes for the night. Right here two boys, dressed as The Thing and also Batman, are photographed at the annual brand-new York City Halloween Parade in this picture from the late 1970s or beforehand 1980s.

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Halloween costumes in the 1970s and ‘80s became much more gruesome through the rise of slasher horror movies. Fear movies also cemented Michael Myers and also Jason Voorhees masks as classic horror costumes. Here civilization pose together Dracula, a skeleton and werewolf in ~ Morrissey Magic save in new York, 1985.

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Abracadabra save manager Darin Pellegrino, left, attract a Vice president George H.W. Bush mask and also Lourdes Lopez attract a Gov. Michael Dukakis mask as they ready for the upcoming Halloween season at your Greenwich village store in brand-new York, 1988.

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In 1995, the year the the O.J. Simpson trial, costume shops, choose this one in brand-new York City, sold thousands of masks the both Simpson and also the presiding judge Ito.

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