Award-winning student news since 1978

The Brookhaven Courier

Award-winning student news since 1978

The Brookhaven Courier

Award-winning student news since 1978

The Brookhaven Courier

The History of Halloween

Experience the history of Halloween, as well as some fun facts about the holiday.
Illustrations by Linley Nyirenda and Tania Kaufmann




May 13, 609 A.D. – Pope Boniface establishes All Saints Day, a day to honor saints, which was moved to Nov. 1 by Pope Gregory III years later.

Fun fact – Samhainophobia is the fear of Halloween. Terrifyingly ironic.

9th Century – Samhain is celebrated, a Celtic festival marking the end of the harvest season. Beginning from the night of October 31. Bonfires were used in divination with feasts, and games were held, such as apple bobbing.




1030 A.D. – Saint Odilo of Cluny established All Souls Day on Nov. 2, now widely known as the Day of the Dead.

16th Century – During Samhain, in some areas of Scotland, mumming and guising are practiced, where people wear costumes and go house-to-house singing songs in exchange for food.

1800s – Immigrants pour into North America, especially those escaping the Irish Potato Famine. The traditions of Samhain then help popularize the celebration of Halloween.



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Jan. 1, 1815 – “Frankenstein,” written by Mary Shelley, was published and is a cornerstone of the horror genre, and is, to some experts, the first true sci-fi story ever written.

1837 – The term Jack-o-Lanterns is officially applied to pumpkin carving in American English, based on an Irish folk tale of a blacksmith, “Stingy Jack,” who was barred from Hell and Heaven and would roam the earth for a resting place with carved-out turnips with burning coal.



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1866 – The carved pumpkin lantern’s association with Halloween was recorded.

1915 – The first recorded haunted attraction, Orton and Spooner Ghost House, is built in Liphook, England— the first inspiration for modern-day haunted houses.

1920-30s – Candy would come into “trick-or-treating” and began to popularize into a staple of the holiday by the 50s.

Oct. 24, 1978 – John Carpenter’s “Halloween” debutes. Michael Myers’ iconic mask is fashioned from a “Star Trek” James Kirk mask painted white with the eyes hole cut out.



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Dec. 2, 1983 – Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” music video is released, becoming the front song of Halloween, and is credited as the “greatest video” of all time.

Fun fact – The Salem Haunted Happenings is one of the largest Halloween gatherings in the world. The town’s history is tied to the very same Salem Witch Trials.

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