Later in this article I will state why I think Halloween is a scam.
Firstly though, here is what Halloween is all about.
A BRIEF HISTORY OF HALLOWEEN
Around 2,000 years ago the people of Ireland, then known as the Celts, celebrated their new year on November the first.
This date signified the beginning of winter, a time when mortality rates were much higher, due to the cold and dark associated with the following few months.
Therefore, the Celts believed that on the night before, October 31st, there was a link between the worlds of the living and the dead.
On this evening, they thought that the ghosts and spirits of the dead would return for a night, intent on damaging crops and causing great mischief for those they left behind.
To this end, they celebrated the night with a festival known as Samhain which was a time for Druids and priests to make predictions about the coming year.
Furthermore, the Celtic people would wear costumes made from animal skulls and skins, and would sacrifice animals and crops to their deities on huge bonfires.
In later years, the Celts became integrated with their Roman conquerors and there was a mixing of their respective cultures, beliefs and festivals.
The Romans honoured Pomona, goddess of trees and fruit. Her symbol, an apple, became associated with Samhain and may explain why ‘apple bobbing’ is still popular on Halloween to this day.
Later still, Pope Boniface IV attempted to hijack Samhain for the Church.
This he did by assigning All Saint’s Day to November 1st. The olde English translation of All Saint’s Day was ‘Alholowmesse’ which later evolved into ‘All Hallows’.
Therefore Samhain, the night before, became known as All Hallows Eve.
I believe the majority of Americans still use this term, though in Britain the phrase further evolved until October 31st became known as Halloween.
MODERN HALLOWEEN COSTUME
A large part of modern Halloween celebrations involves dressing up in costumes, much like the original Celts.
However, the nature of the attire has changed somewhat.
Instead of animal skins, people are far more likely to be seen dressed as ghosts, skeletons, vampires or even popular television characters. (Staggeringly, the winner of the best Halloween outfit at my kids’ school last year went at Snow White!!).
Bobbing for apples has already been mentioned but it is not the only game that is based on the early celebrations.
Another game often played is divination where a blindfolded child has to choose a piece of paper upon which is written a prophecy.
By making the choice themselves, it is said that the prophecy will come true for them during the course of the following year.
Another game that is well known is trick or treat.
This is probably the main point of interest for children at Halloween, as they not only get to dress up, but they also go knocking on people’s doors, asking for treats.
If a treat is not forthcoming, then a trick will be played which will often involve throwing eggs at windows for example.
The pumpkin is itself a part of Irish tradition, though not originally part of the Samhain festival.
Whilst emptying a pumpkin and placing a light inside to turn it into a lantern was begun by the Irish, the carving of faces onto pumpkins actually originated in America where crops grew to a much larger size.
WHY DO I THINK HALLOWEEN IS A SCAM?
At the beginning of the article I stated that I believe Halloween is a scam.
Why do I think that?
Well, it has nothing to do with occultism, something that ‘Devil’s night’ has become associated with in recent years.
That is because Halloween, as you now hopefully know, was never a Christian festival in the first place.
Instead, my belief that Halloween is a scam is to do with the commercialism of the event.
Samhain began as a festival, borne on the fears of those who lived at the time, who did not fully understand or comprehend the world they lived in.
Two millenniums later and modern man has a good grasp of science, adequate heating (in the majority of countries), crops tend not to fail and, for the most part, people do not believe in mischief-making ghosts and spirits coming back to play havok on October 31st.
Why then, do we still recognise and celebrate Halloween?
Simply, because clever marketing tactics are employed by retail companies looking to turn a profit, and here’s how –
- Overpriced pumpkins
- Overpriced and flimsy costumes, unlikely to be re-usable the following year
- Increased sales of sweets and other gifts to be handed to trick or treaters
- Associated sales of plastic teeth, ambient music collections and other worthless rubbish
Oh, and don’t forget that dentists see an upturn in business after the kids have eaten all the sweets they receive too 😉
Halloween can be great fun, especially children who come home at the end of the evening with a huge amount of sweets.
Conversely, it can also be a huge annoyance.
I know personally that after the 50th knock on my door it starts to test my patience.
Additionally, some may even live in fear of Halloween.
I know some elderly people in my area who feel quite intimidated by elder children who levy all kinds of threats if sweets or money are not given to them.
Ultimately, Halloween in this day and age bears little to no resemblance to the original festival of Samhain.
Verdict : Halloween has become a RETAIL SCAM, designed to extract money from those who probably have no idea what they are commemorating in the first place.