Interestingly enough, Halloween hasn’t always been recorded and celebrated in the same manner as it is today.
Plenty of records exist about the first Halloween that was celebrated on October 31, as we still do so today. The Celtic celebration of the Catholic Holiday “All Hallows Day” or “All Saints Day” previously took place on November 1. Eventually, the Irish transformed the holiday to include Roman traditions from the month of October beginning in the 1st century AD. One of these was the honoring of Pomona, the Roman goddess of fruit and trees, whose primary symbol is the apple. And, you might think this would be a good explanation for the tradition of bobbing for apples on Halloween.
From there, Halloween entered the American calendar in the 1840s with Irish immigrants fleeing the potato famine. Considering the poverty and need of those Irish immigrants, the tradition of trick-or-treating on Halloween may be similar to their need to go door to door to collect money or food in addition to another begging that was possibly done.
Another historical Halloween tradition that seems to be Irish is that of the Jack-o’-lantern. This comes from the folklore of an Irish drunk named Jack who supposedly tricked Satan into climbing a tree before carving a cross into the trunk of the tree to trap the devil at the top. So, as much as we like to carve out frightening Jack-o’lanterns for Halloween decor, it is honestly a Christian effort to eliminate the evil spirit of the devil and leave him hollowed up as a pumpkin.
But, that does provide a good reason why we love pumpkins so much for all of the fall season, especially Halloween. Even more so, with the ability for pumpkin farms throughout the United States to produce about a billion pounds of pumpkins a year in the fall, it’s amazing how large of an economic boost the Halloween season and autumn as a whole can be. With more than $100 million in the annual value of pumpkins alone, there is so much to gain from those hayrides, farmers’ markets, and more for all those pumpkins, we buy in the fall.
With pumpkins, trick-or-treating, and so much more, here in the United States and around the world, we have a great deal to appreciate what the Halloween season has to offer. It’s an incredible source of entertainment, economy, and excitement for people of all ages!