Halloween’s origin dates to The Celts, who lived 2,000 years ago in Ireland, United Kingdom, and France.
Celts believed the boundary between worlds of the living and the dead became blurred the night before their New Year, which is November 1st.
On October 31st they celebrated the festival of Samhain, lit bonfires, and wore costumes to ward off roaming ghosts.
In the eighth century Pope Gregory III designated November 1st as a time to honor all saints and martyrs and incorporated some Samhain traditions.
October 31st became All Hallows’ Eve and eventually Halloween, the secular, community-based events filled with craved pumpkins and trick-or-treat, that we celebrate today.
An Irish myth about an old drunk called “Stingy Jack” is said to be the reason.
Can you guess why he was called stingy? Of course, because he never wanted to pay for his drinks.
Read the full story here or watch to the fun, spooky video below:
The Irish used turnips, rutabagas, gourds, potatoes and beets for their lights to keep Stingy Jack away and ward off evil spirits on All Hallow’s Eve. Pumpkins became the jack-o-lanterns when waves of Irish immigrants came to America to escape the Potato Famine. They quickly discovered that pumpkins were bigger and easier to carve out.
Oh, and one more tidbit of information about jack-o-lanterns. This advice comes from the antique dealer me, not the Irish storyteller. Be careful where you display your cleverly carved jack-o-lanterns. The base of a pumpkin can stay moist for days and will rot and stain wood or even marble. Put either foil or a dish with a raised edge under any pumpkins or gourds you display this fall. I’ve stained more than one old piece of furniture decorating for fall with gourds and tiny pumpkins.