History of Halloween defines today’s traditions

GraceVirgillito

As different traditions of ethnic groups began to merge, an American version of Halloween started to arise. Halloween was a time for people to tell ghost stories and cause mischief. After the potato famine in Ireland, the Irish immigrated to America, bringing their own concept of Halloween with them.

The traditional idea of “trick-or-treating” started with the Americans. This tradition brought dressing up in costumes and going door to door asking for food or money. Neighbors started to also celebrate this tradition together, by going to eachothers house and telling stories about ghosts, pranks and witchcraft around the fire. 

By the 1920s, communities attended parties together, dressing up in costumes, playing games, and decorating their houses. As many parents attended parties, teenagers began vandalizing the streets and houses for fun. Families used “trick-or-treating’ as a way to distract the kids, and instead of vandalism, they were busy getting candy from their neighbors. This is where the words “trick-or-treat” originate from.  

Now, Halloween is celebrated with children dressing up as various characters or creatures and going door-to-door asking for delicious treats. Halloween may have started out differently, but it has evolved over the years, and you can almost always spot the playful laughing kids on their way to score some candy! 

As COVID is still on the rise, Halloween may look a little different this year. I asked Marian teachers what their plan was this year and how the pandemic might influence their kids halloween festivities. 

Spanish teacher Senora Craig plans on continuing her regular halloween traditions but with a twist this year. “We will be trick or treating, but the family that we normally trick or treat with is opting out this year. The children will wear masks and use hand sanitizer frequently. I am going to buy a bag of candy that they can eat immediately and will quarantine their candy that they collected for a few days. We usually have a big crowd come trick or treating with us including neighbors and family because we live in a neighborhood that really participates in handing out candy and putting out decorations, and I usually make a bunch of food for everyone before we head out, but that will not be possible this year.” said Craig.

 Math teacher Mrs. Jaime Piernicky said, “We have never been super crazy Halloween people, so probably not much change to our normal plan, but our neighborhood can get a little hectic on Halloween. We will probably let them go trick or treating still, but together instead of with a big group of friends. They will for sure have to wear a mask all night, and then hand sanitizer like crazy. Two of my children have October birthdays, so it feels like we are festive all month! When my kids were littler, I tried to get them to dress in theme costumes. For example one year I had a football player, a cheerleader, a referee, and the baby was the football.  Another year I had a knight, a princess, and a dragon, but they quit humoring me with that years ago!”  

Spanish teacher Mrs. Amanda Pritchard said, “My son James is too young for “trick-or-treating” anyway. Normally our friends have a chili feed before the bigger kids go out, but we sadly won’t be doing that this year. We won’t even hand out candy this year! I will make little gift bags for our neighbors, but that’s it. We will get dressed up and take a picture, then that’s about it. After James goes to bed, maybe my husband and I will have a fire out back with Doug the dog if it’s nice out.”

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The Network is the student newspaper of Marian High School, Nebraska's only Class A College-Preparatory School for young women.

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