top of page

The Origins of Halloween

Halloween, also called All Hallows Eve, is a celebration celebrated for years. The earliest trace of the celebration is associated with Peter Tokofsky. He was an assistant professor at UCLA states in the folklore and mythology department. According to Peter, the earliest trace of Halloween is the Celtic festival, Samhain, Celtic New Year. It was a day set aside for the dead, and they believed the deceased's soul would be available that day (George, 2020).

Samhain means ‘‘Summers’s end.” In ancient Celtic and Germanic societies, solstices and equinoxes were a mark of the season middles, not the beginnings. In connection to this, the existence of autumnal equinox, spring equinox, summer solstice, and winter solstice meant the beginning of winter, autumn, summer, and spring. The eight dates were very significant. For instance, the end of summer marked the beginning and was essential to people surviving on plant growth. Chamberlain was a day that marked summers' and harvests' end. Also, it marked the onset of cold and dark winter and was linked with human death.

Holmes (2018) asserts that the Druids celebrated Halloween with a great fire festival. It aimed at encouraging the darkening Sun not to vanish. During the celebration, people danced around bonfires to keep away evil spirits. While dancing, doors were left open for the kind spirits of their ones to join them. During Halloween time, divination was considered more effective than any other time. As a result, depriving methods were done to ascertain who might marry, who is likely to rise to prominence, what prominent people might be born and who might die. The origin of Halloween is associated with the wearing of costumes which consisted of animal skins and heads. Animals were sacrificed and burning of crops. Through the sacrifices, spirits were entertained by the living to get a body to possess the incoming years. That is why they dressed like witches, goblins, and ghosts.


George, A. (2020). Halloween: Eve of Transformation. The Mythology of America's Seasonal Holidays (pp. 149-173). Palgrave Macmillan, Cham.

Holmes, A. (2018). The Last Halloween. Williams Honors College, Honors Research Projects. 624.

67 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All


bottom of page