When people think of Halloween they usually associate it with trick-or-treating, costumes and haunted houses. The history of Halloween actually goes back about 2000 years with a Celtic festival called Samhain on Nov. 1.
The night before, on Oct. 31, people believed that the dead returned as ghosts. People would leave food and wine on their doorsteps to keep the roaming spirits at bay. People also wore masks in order to be mistaken as a fellow ghost.
In an attempt to make the celebration less pagen the Christian Church renamed the events on Nov. 1 All Saints Day and in the eighth century All Hallows. The night before was called All Hallows Eve and was eventually shortened to Halloween.
In Medieval Britain, on Nov. 2, people would beg for pastries called soul cakes and in return they would pray for their dead relatives. This was called souling. The tradition of trick-or-treating comes from a practice that was revived in the 19th century by Irish and Scottish immigrants called guising, where young people would dress in costume and collect wine, food, money and other things in exchange for singing, poetry and jokes. Costumes during this time were commonly woven out of straw.
At first, Halloween was more centered on the tricks and pranks like tipping over outhouses, opening farmers' gates and egging houses. Around the 1950s Halloween became the family-friendly holiday it is today.
Halloween has become increasingly popular over the years. Consumers spend an estimated $6 billion on Halloween each year, making it the second most commercial holiday after Christmas.
For more visit, History of Halloween.