The month of October conjures up images of turning leaves, hayrides, pumpkins, scarecrows, black cats, and of course Halloween decorations. I love learning about the origin of the holidays we celebrate, and as an author of ghost stories, Halloween is one of my favorites. So I did a bit of (admittedly rudimentary) research to discover some of the reasons we dress up and try to scare each other on October 31st.
Originally known as All Hallows’ Eve, Halloween is linked to the Celtic festival of Samhain. This last day of autumn was considered the time of year when the barrier between the paranormal and physical worlds grew thin.
The Christian holiday of All Saints’ Day (All Hallows) also influenced Halloween. It was said that the souls awaiting release on November 1st had one last night to extract revenge on their enemies before leaving the earth. Cautious Christians would disguise themselves with masks to avoid recognition.
The custom of carving pumpkins originated from a Samhain practice of remembering souls with turnip lanterns. Trick-or-treating can be traced back to “souling”, a medieval practice which involved the poor and hungry travelling door-to-door and offering to pray for the dead in return for food.
My favorite Halloween tradition is visiting haunted houses (well, staged haunted houses for entertainment...I do visit actual haunted houses as much as possible at any time during the year. And an abandoned sanatorium for TB patients...see that post here!)
If you like spooky reads, I hope you'll check out some of my ghost mystery romantic suspense novels at the following links: The Haunting of Hillwood Farm, Ghost Moon, Gull Harbor, and Silver Lake. Happy Halloween and Happy Haunted Reading!