The spooky season of the year and a popular festival celebrated on October 31 – Halloween. But do you know how the Halloween festival started? The usual Halloween celebrations include decorating the houses with scary props such as spider webs, bats, ghosts, and skeletons, getting dressed up in different costumes and going around trick-or-treating. This year, we will help you learn a little about this spooky festival and how it all started.

History of Halloween Celebrations

To start with, the name Halloween is ‘All Hallows Eve,’ defining the evening before the holy ‘All Saints Day’ celebration on November 1. The widely known origin of the Halloween celebration is linked to the ancient Celtic festival of ‘Samhain’, which begins on October 31 evening to November 1. It was observed by the Celts, who lived around 2000 years ago in the UK, Ireland and northern France region. This day was considered the end of the harvesting season and the beginning of a dark, cold winter, considered to be deathlike. It was also believed that at this time, the boundary between the living and dead worlds would be thin, and the souls of the dead could return to the human world for a short period. So, people would dress up in spooky costumes like ghosts, goblins, and witches to ward off the returning spirits.

Scary Costumes, Trick-or-Treat and Jack-O’-Lanterns

This evening was believed to be haunted because of the visiting otherworldly spirits. Dressing up like scary ghosts, demons, and other spooky characters was a trick to disguise in front of the real spirits. As the Celts believed that the returning ghosts would cause mischiefs like damaging the crops, bonfires to sacrifice animals were practiced as a ritual to please the spirit worlds. However, the trick-or-treat tradition is very recent, where Halloween became more about dressing up in costumes and celebrating the night with food and bonfires. People, especially kids, dressed in scary costumes would go around houses singing and dancing to get treats in the form of food and sweets.

The tradition of making lanterns by carving ghost faces on pumpkins is believed to be based on an Irish folktale of ‘Stingy Jack’. According to the mythological story, a mischievous man named Jack tricked the devil so many times that he was neither accepted in heaven nor hell upon his death. Instead, he was left to wander with just one burning coal to light up his turnip lantern. This was adopted by people making scary faces on turnips to create lanterns to scare the wandering Jack and other evil spirits during Halloween. When this tradition reached America through immigrants, the native fruit pumpkin became a widely used item to make Jack O’ Lanterns.

The Halloween Fun at ES Dubai

Having a multicultural community at our English language school, we make English courses a fun journey with different activities and events to let them explore. From spooky decorations creating a haunted mood within the school to fun scary movie night for the students, the Halloween vibe was created days before the celebration. With lots of fun games, sweets, music, costume parade with exciting prizes, Halloween 2022 turned to be a blast at ES Dubai.

Click here to get a glimpse of our Halloween celebrations!