The Haunting History Of Halloween: Why We "Celebrate"

The Haunting History Of Halloween: Why We "Celebrate"

Plainclothes are a demon's best friend.
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Have you ever wondered why we bob for apples and dress up in costumes once a year?

Hint: It's not for an aesthetically pleasing Instagram post.

Halloween has roots dating back several centuries. It comes with it's own traditions, and (like other holidays) with every national tradition comes commercialization. Most of the holidays celebrated by Americans modernized into secular traditions, or ones not centered around religion. The common belief that Christians should not celebrate Halloween stems from the misconception that Halloween is the celebration of evil.

Samhain is still practiced in different parts of the world, specifically in European Celtic ancestry towns.

However, the history of Halloween involves a lot of religious practices within different cultures-- Christianity included.

Over 2,000 years ago, the Celtic people believed in the sanctity of borders: physical and metaphysical. Places like shorelines, bridges and riverbanks were considered to be holy sites just as the start of their New Year was considered a holy time.

Celts marked the transition into summer as Beltaine and the tranistion to winter (and the New Year) as Samhain. They considered the winter to be the "Season of Ghosts" and celebrated Samhain as a night when time ceased to exist. The spirits of their ancestors were released to walk among them; the dead and the living existed as one.

On Hallows Eve, many Celts (specifically the Irish and Scottish) had a traditional supper where they set an empty place at the head of the table for the dead. They were not to look at it until the end of the meal when the untouched food was discarded in the woods. Communication with the dead was believed possible on Samhain's Hallows Eve.

Traditional Samhain dance

The majority of modern Halloween customs derive from Pagan and Druid practices. Ancient Celts lit bonfires and dressed up in costumes made of animal skins to disguise themselves from evil spirits. They would circle the fire with the skulls of their deceased ancestors in a attempt to protect themselves from evil.

The Scottish tradition of trick-or-treating developed from children dressing in similar costumes, going door to door and singing songs in an attempt to receive a treat. If their audience did not reward them, they resorted to tricks.

Modern Samhain relics

The apple was a popular symbol of the "Other World" and were often used for fortune telling. One of these tells was was we know today as bobbing, and those who succeeded in catching an apple with their teeth would have good fortune in the coming year.

Within the four centuries that Romans conquered Celtic lands, they meshed their "Halloween" practices with Samhain. In 609 A.D., Pope Boniface IV dedicated May 13 to All Martyrs Day, which was later expanded to include saints and moved to November 1.

In 1000 A.D., November 2 was deemed "All Souls Day" in an effort to bring religion into the Samhain tradition. It was celebrated the same way-- to honor the dead with festivals, bonfires and costumes-- but it was also an attempt to replace the holiday as a more "holy" celebration.


Christian tradition of lighting remembrance candles in sacred places, like churches or cemetery temples

So how did these traditions make it to modern-day America?

Originally, colonial New England was not interested in any of these traditions because of their strong Protestant beliefs. As different European cultures flowed in, "play parties" became popular for neighborhoods to get together and tell ghost stories and fortunes.

Over time, it regained traction, especially with the Irish and English tradition of knocking on people's doors for food or money. Soon enough, communities were trick-or-treating.

It wasn't until the late nineteenth century that Halloween started to commercialize in the United States. It evolved into a large community celebration where towns would hold annual festivities and parties.

Vintage Halloween advertisement

However, with the 1950s Baby Boomer generation starting school, Halloween made its way into classrooms and started to become a holiday for kids. The maintenance of trick-or-treating has been a way to keep all ages in the community involved.

It's no surprise that decoration, candy and costume sales have turned this holiday into the second largest commercial holiday in the United States (aside from Christmas, of course). So, next time someone tells you dressing up is for kids, warn them that plainclothes are a demon's favorite home.

Happy Haunting!


Read more about the history of Hallow's Eve:

History of Halloween

Deeper into Samhain

Cover Image Credit: FreeStocks

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52 Instagram Captions Perfect For Your Next Beach Vacation

Perfect for those beach daze.
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Summer is officially in full swing. We are all looking forward to the adventures that await us. A lot of us have been dreaming about the day when we finally get to kick our feet up and relax by the ocean. If you find yourself getting ready for a trip to the beach then read these quotes to help get your in the mood for your vacation. Whether you are looking for an Instagram caption or are just trying to settle a bad case of wanderlust, here are 52 quotes on summer:

1. "Hello summer."

2. "I'm happiest when I'm floating in the ocean."

3. "May you always have a shell in your pocket, and sand in your toes."

4. "Life is better with palm trees."

5. "Sandy toes. Sun-kissed nose."

6. "Balmy nights, pink sunsets, and salty air."

7. "Talk to the sand."

8. "Live in the sunshine. Swim in the sea. Drink the wild air." -Emerson

9. "Everyone should believe in something. I believe I should go to the beach."

10. "Spontaneity is the best kind of adventure."

11. "The ocean is calling and I must go."

12. "Here comes the sun."

13. "If it requires a bikini, my answer is yes."

14. "I'm just a beachy kinda girl."

15. "As free as the ocean..."

16. "As endless as the ocean, as timeless as the tides..."

17. "Life's a beach. Enjoy the waves."

18. "A pineapple a day keeps the worries away."

19. "Let the currents guide your heart."

20. "Happiness comes in waves."

21. "Let's go somewhere where the stars kiss the ocean."

22. "My favorite color is sunset."

23. "I lost my heart to the sea."

24. "Sun, sand, and surf."

25. "Salt in the air. Sand in my hair."

26. "Smell the sea, and feel the sky. Let your soul and spirit fly." -Van Morrison

27. "High tides and good vibes."

28. "Mermaid kisses and starfish wishes."

29. "Stop and smell the ocean."

30. "I'm happy anywhere I can see the ocean."

31. "Tropical state of mind."

32. "Forever chasing the sun."

33. "Girls just wanna have sun."

34. "Some of the best memories are made in flip flops." -Kellie Elmore

35. "Good times and tan lines."

36. "Palm trees, ocean breeze, salty air, sun-kissed hair, endless summer, take me there."

37. "The ocean is calling."

38. "Love you to the beach and back."

39. "Paradise found."

40. "Seas the day."

41. "Live in the sunshine, swim in the sea, drink the wild air..." -Ralph Waldo Emerson

42. "Eat. Beach. Sleep. Repeat."

43. "I never met a sunset I didn't like."

44. "Beach daze always."

45. "Catch me by the sea."

46. "Only worry in the world is the tide gonna reach my chair." -Zac Brown Band

47. "Stay salty."

48. "Done adulating- let's be mermaids."

49. "Find me under the palm trees."

50. "Sea you soon."

51. "Hello sunshine."

52. "Don't mind me... I'm just chasing the sun."

Cover Image Credit: Jakob Owens // Unsplash

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Please Spare Me From The Three Months Of Summer Break When People Revert Back To High Schoolers

They look forward to swapping stories with their friends at the local diner, walking around their old high school with a weird sense of superiority, and reminiscing their pre-college lives.

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I know a surprising amount of people who actually couldn't wait to go home for the summer. They look forward to swapping stories with their friends at the local diner, walking around their old high school with a weird sense of superiority, and reminiscing their pre-college lives.

Me? Not so much. I don't mean to sound bitter. It's probably really comforting to return to a town where everyone knows your name, where your younger friends want you around to do their prom makeup, and where you can walk through Target without hiding in the deodorant aisle. But because I did this really annoying thing where my personality didn't really develop and my social anxiety didn't really loosen its grip on me until college, I have a very limited number of people to return to.

If you asked someone from my high school about Julia Bond, they would probably describe her as shy, studious, and uptight. I distinctly remember being afraid of people who JUULed (did you get high from it? was it illegal? could I secondhand smoke it and get lung cancer?) and crying over Algebra 1 in study hall (because nothing says fun and friendly like mascara steaks and furious scribbling in the back corner while everyone else throws paper airplanes and plays PubG Mobile).

I like to tell my college friends that if I met High School Julia, I would beat her up. I would like to think I could, even though I go to the gym now a third of the time I did then. It's not that it was High School Julia's fault that she closed herself off to everyone. She had a crippling fear of getting a B and an even worse fear of other people. But because she was so introverted and scared, College Julia has nothing to do but re-watch "The Office" for the 23rd time when she comes back.

Part of me is jealous of the people who came into their own before college. I see pictures of the same big friend groups I envied from a distance in high school, all their smiling faces at each other's college football games and pool parties and beach trips, and it makes me sad that I missed out on so many friendships because I was too scared to put myself out there. That part of me really, really wishes I had done things differently.

But a bigger, more confident part of me is really glad I had that experience. Foremost, everything I've gone through has shaped me. I mean, I hid in the freaking bathroom during lunch for the first two weeks of my freshman year of high school. I never got up to sharpen my pencil because I was scared people would talk about me. I couldn't even eat in front of people because I was so overwhelmingly self-conscious. I remember getting so sick at cross country practice because I ran four or five miles on an empty stomach.

Now, I look back and cringe at the ridiculousness because I've grown so much since then. Sure, I still have my quirks and I'm sure a year from now I'll write an article about what a weirdo Freshman Julia was. But I can tell who had the same experience as me. I can tell who was lonely in high school because they talk to the kids on my floor that study by themselves. I can tell who was afraid of speaking up because they listen so well. I can tell who was without a friend group because they stand by me when others don't. I can tell who hated high school, because it's obvious that they've never been as happy as they are now.

My dislike for high school, while inconvenient for this summer, might be one of the best things to happen to me. I learned how to overcome my fears, how to be independent, and how to make myself happy. I never belonged in high school, and that's why I will never take for granted where I belong here at Rutgers.

So maybe I don't have any prom pictures with a bunch of colorful dresses in a row, and maybe I didn't go to as many football games as I should have. Maybe I would've liked pep rallies, and maybe I missed out on senior week at the beach. But if I had experienced high school differently, I wouldn't be who I am today.

I wouldn't pinch myself daily because I still can't believe how lucky I am to have the friends that I do.

I wouldn't smile so hard every time I come back from class and hear my floormates calling me from the lounge.

I wouldn't well up when my roommate leaves Famous Amos cookies on my desk before a midterm, or know how to help the girl having a panic attack next to me before a final, or hear my mom tell my dad she's never seen me this happy before.

If I had loved high school, I wouldn't realize how amazing I have it in college. So amazing, in fact, that I never want to go home.

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