The holiday we know as Halloween actually comes from the Celtic holiday Samhain. Scary costumes were meant to keep away evil spirits.
According to MSN.com:
Halloween started as a Celtic festival of Samhain, celebrated on October 31, when the Celts believed the dead returned to the earth. On this day, people gathered to light bonfires, offer sacrifices, and pay homage to the dead, according to History Channel.
Pumpkins were originally carved to keep away evil spirits. They were originally carved in turnips or beets. Pumpkins are a new world fruit and were not known to early Europeans.
Other fun facts from MSN.com:
"All Hallow’s Eve" evolved into "All Hallow’s Even," and by the Eighteenth century it was commonly referred to as "Hallowe'en,” according to Business Insider. This crazy change up explains how we eventually came to call the fall holiday Halloween.
Carving jack-o’-lanterns originated in
but instead of pumpkins, they carved turnips and beets. Pumpkin carving is an American tradition. Ireland
The trick-or-treating hunt didn’t always involve candy. In the 1930s and early 1940s, children got everything from homemade cookies and cake to fruit, nuts, coins, and toys, according to History Channel. No candy on Halloween? Now that’s scary.
The name jack-o’-lantern came from an old Celtic folk tale about Stingy Jack, who would play tricks on the devil. When Stingy Jack died, the devil gave him a lump of burning coal to light his way in the darkness. Stingy Jack put this light into a turnip to light his way in purgatory.