A: Historically, Samhain was an Irish Celtic harvest festival that marked the beginning of the winter season. It is not likely to have been held on a specific calendar day, but rather whenever the harvest was finished for the year.
There are a variety of Halloween traditions often credited to Samhain, such as costume wearing and the creation of hallowed out vegetables (predecessors to the jack-o-lantern). Readers are cautioned to be very wary of such claims...Read more
A: The modern-day carving of pumpkins into lighted faces is generally traced back to European folk practices of doing similar carvings on turnips and other vegetables in order to keep away evil spirits. However, such practices have only been associated with Halloween in the last 150 years or so...Read more
A: There is various evidence that suggests that animal abuse, particularly targeting black cats, goes up slightly during the Halloween season. However, there is no evidence that such incidents are the results of Satanists, pagans or...Read more
A: The practice of traveling door to door begging for goods and threatening repercussions against the uncharitable is a common European practice dating back hundreds of years. It is associated with a variety of holidays and events, and goes under such names as "souling," "guising" and "wassailing." Christmas was a prime time for such antics...Read more