Pope Gregory III expanded the festival to celebrate all saints as well as all martyrs and this became known as All Saints Day, this celebration however was also known as All-Hallows and the night before became known as All-Hallows eve and eventually, Halloween.
Halloween in America
Halloween was a much more common celebration in the southern colonies than in the northern colonies of America. This is where an American version of Halloween began to emerge, one that is more similar to what we celebrate today.
The first celebrations included parties with public events held to celebrate the harvest and where neighbours would share stories of the dead, tell fortunes, dance and sing. Festivities also included the telling of ghost stories and mischief-making.
Immigrants in the second half of the nineteenth century helped to popularise the celebration of Halloween nationally, especially the millions of Irish fleeing Ireland’s potato famine. Americans began to dress up in costumes and go from house to house asking for food or money, this practice would eventually become todays “trick or treating” tradition.
In the late 1800s Halloween in America became a holiday more about community and neighbourly get-togethers than about ghosts and pranks. Parties focused on games, foods of the season and festive costumes.
By the 1920s and 30s Halloween had become a secular by community-centred holiday with parades and town wide parties. Despite the best efforts of schools and communities however, vandalism began to plague Halloween celebrations in many communities during this time. This was successfully limited by the 1950s and the holiday evolved once more into one directed mainly at the young. During the time the old tradition of trick or treating was revived. Trick or treating was a relatively cheap way for communities to share Halloween celebration, families could also prevent tricks being played on them by providing the neighbourhood children with treats. Today Americans spend an estimated $6 billion annually on Halloween, making it the country’s second largest holiday.
Halloween Traditions & Superstitions