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2,000 Years ago  Celts 

› Ireland › North France › United Kingdom 

End of Harvest › New Years Eve

Winter was a time of death › No Heaters

› Snow › No electricity › No escape from the cold › No modern medicine › No refrigerator › No oven or stove

Celts believed that ghosts returned to earth on October 31st › Ghosts  Caused trouble  Ruined crops  Helped Druids (priests) to predict the future

Druids built sacred bonfires › Burnt crops and animal sacrifices

Celts wore costumes › No costume stores › No sewing machines › WHAT WOULD YOU WEAR? › WHAT DO YOU THINK THEY WORE?

Druids built sacred bonfires › Burnt crops and animal sacrifices

Celts wore costumes › No costume stores › No sewing machines › WHAT WOULD YOU WEAR? › WHAT DO YOU THINK THEY WORE?

They wore animal heads and skins!

Romans took Celtic Territory › 43 AD

› Ruled Celtic territory for 400 years! 

Festivals Combined › Feralia  Romans remembered the dead › Honoring Pomona  Roman goddess of Fruit and Trees  “bobbing” for apples

Pope Boniface IV › May 13, 609 › Celebrate Christian Martyrs

Pope Gregory III › 732 AD › Saints are included › Holiday moved from May 13 to November 1


Celtic rights taken away and blended with Christian values  All Soul’s Day 

› November 2, 1000 › Day to honor the dead › Christian church attempted to replace Celtic

festival with a Christian holiday › Celebrated with bonfires and costumes  Costumes were angels, saints, and devils  Also called All-hallows (means all saint’s)  Night before was called All-hallows Eve


Celebration frowned upon in early American settlements › Protestant beliefs

WHAT IS A PROTESTANT? › A protestant is a Christian that is NOT


Common place for Halloween celebration › Maryland › American Indians  Learned from American settlers in Maryland

“Play Parties”

Fun Fact: Juliette Gordon Low was born on Halloween in 1860!

› Public events  Celebrating the harvest › Neighbors shared stories of the dead, told

fortunes, danced, and sang together

Ghost stories  Mischief Making 

› Practical Jokes 

Autumn Festivals became common › 1800s › Halloween still not celebrated in many places

New immigrants › 1850s

› Irish Immigrants  Moved to America because of a famine in Ireland › Helped to make Halloween popular

everywhere in America


Dressing up in costumes  Going from house to house 

› Asking for food or money  Eventually called Trick or Treating 

Young women › Believed they could find the name of their

future husband

 Tricks with yarn or mirrors

Halloween became about neighbors  Halloween stopped being about witchcraft and ghosts  Most common way to celebrate Halloween was to go to a party 

› › › ›

No Trick or Treating Games Harvest Food Costumes

Frightening Halloween celebrations were frowned upon.  Halloween was no longer religious 

Baby Boom › 1950s

› Classroom Halloween Parties  Too many kids to have parties at parks! › Trick or Treating began again!  The only way the community could celebrate together  Today, $6 billion is spent on Halloween

“All Souls’ Day parades in England › Poor people begged for food › Rich families gave poor people “soul cakes”  Poor families promised to pray for the rich family’s dead relatives  Encouraged by the church  Called “going a-souling”  Eventually only children did this  Visited neighbors houses for beer, food, and money



Ghosts are scary!

Black cats are bad luck Don’t walk under a ladder!

Boys love Halloween

THEN Ghosts were family and were friendly  Black cats were witches in disguise  NOTHING to do with Halloween – this was from the Egyptians!  Halloween was more about girls finding husbands!! 

Girls did not work › Many did not go to school

› Girls were to get married, have babies, cook,

and clean

Many Halloween traditions focused on helping girls find a husband or reassuring them that they would find a husband


Cooks hid rings in mashed potatoes › Girl who finds it will find love

Girls wrote names of suitors (possible husbands) on nuts › Girls threw nut into fireplace › If nut burned instead of popping, that would

be their husband

Girls would dream of husband on Halloween if they ate a special dessert

Threw apple peals over shoulders › Landing in the shape of the initials of their


Stood in a dark room holding a candle › Looked in a mirror to see their husband’s

face near their shoulders

The first successful apple-bobber would be the first to marry

How will you celebrate this year?

Will you think about Halloween differently from now on?

What did you learn from this?

What do you like most?

What do you like least?

The History of Halloween  

Presentation for Girl Scouts

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