The Origin of Halloween: Why do we celebrate on Oct. 31?

Story by Erkya Hammonds // Contributor

Each year for Halloween children dress up as their favorite characters and heroes and go door to door collecting candy.

Families decorate their homes with jack-o-lanterns and spooky decorations, haunted houses are popular attractions and costume parties are thrown to celebrate the holiday. But does anyone really know where these traditions originate?

MTSU senior Amber Darcey says the holiday may have originated from various superstitions.

“I thought it came from people being scared of something so that was the night they dressed up as something scary to scare the ghosts off and stuff,” Darcey said.

That guess actually isn’t too far off, however, Murfreesboro resident Lewis Jumpeter shares a different theory of Halloween’s origin.

“It was for All Saints’ Day,” Jumpeter said. “It was for blessing the dead and then it morphed into ‘All Hell’s Day’ or something.”

Halloween goes back to Celtic traditions where the new year was believed to begin November 1, and ghosts of the dead returned to the earth October 31. The Celts would have bonfires and wear costumes in honor of the day. With the spread of Christianity, the celebration became All Souls’ Day and All Saints’ Day.

The holiday then took the name All Hallows’ Eve which later became Halloween. The tradition of trick-or-treating actually came from poor citizens going door to door for food or money.

Keep these fun facts in mind while enjoying a favorite Halloween tradition this year.

This article was published in cooperation with Jennifer Woodard’s Audio & Podcasting course.

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To contact Lifestyles editor Rhiannon Gilbert, email

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