The history of humanity’s love of being scared resonates back through the ages so much, that it has become subconsciously ingrained into the imagination of society, deep into every dark crevice of human psychology. Think about it; some of the earliest games parents play with their young infants is “Boo.” This is where a parent hides behind something, like their own hand, to then subsequently removes it and says “boo,” in turn provoking a simultaneous joyful/terror-stricken jolt from the infant where they squirm around as if not knowing how to react.
Where did it all begin? Halloween or “All Hallows Eve,” is one of the few times of the year that both Western Christian civilizations and non-Christian civilizations conjure up festivities that include costumes, watching scary movies and decorations of scary images.
This secular, community-based holiday began back with the ancient Celtic pagan festival of “Samhain.” People would light and dance around bonfires, dressed in costume, to ward off evil or roaming spirits. Some traditions were adopted by the eighth century rising Catholic Church. Pope Gregory III would decree that Nov. 1 be “All Saints Day,” where saints and martyrs were honored. Aspects of “Samhain” were utilized in the day before “All Saints Day,” which was referred to as “All Hallows Eve,” now Halloween.
Halloween is a holiday with superstition, some a skewed of truth as well as glaring fantasy. Honed around the themes of mystery and magic, traditions are rooted in many religiously notable times in human history. For instance, the superstition of having black cats cross one’s path being bad luck dates back to the Middle Ages when the belief was that witches would turn themselves into black cats in order to avoid detection.
The idea of Halloween, even down to its roots historically, is highlighted by a core belief in spirituality. During “Samhain,” the ancient Celts would not only dress up in order to ward off roaming spirits bad or unknown but also to commune with dead relatives or friends, as opposed to now where spirits of Halloween are viewed more diabolical in the sense that they are evil or demonic. Every ghost is viewed as scary or visually unappealing in order to generate the commercial profit machine that has become a stamp upon Western culture.
Over time Halloween has become an ingrained American tradition, as well as the second highest commercial holiday of any holiday. It is estimated that Halloween brings in around $6 billion annually.