It is thought that Halloween is even older than Christianity, with evidence of Halloween celebrations dating back more than 2,000 years! It started as an event called Samhain (which can be loosely translated as ‘the end of summer’). Samhain acknowledged the end of the Autumnal harvest and it was believed that it marked the day when the veil between the living and the dead was at its thinnest. At the time, communities would burn bonfires to ward off spirits and dress in costumes to ‘trick’ ghosts. Trick Or Treating also has a long history, spanning back to the Medieval Ages when it would be called ‘guising’ in Scotland and Ireland. It is thought that Irish immigrants brought the traditions of Halloween to America during the late 19th Century, where it became increasingly popular – especially in the 1930s. The tradition of jack-o-lanterns comes from the old Irish folklore of Stingy Jack. It is said that Stingy Jack made a deal with The Devil, meaning that he could not enter either Heaven or Hell and so was doomed to wander the earth for eternity with just a lantern. In the UK and US, Halloween is the second largest commercial holiday with a consumer spend of $9 billion in the US alone.
Learn more about the spooky season with these activities!
- Get together to enjoy this scary story from our partner Nell Phoenix – here
- Challenge yourself with this word search all about things that go bump in the night – here
- Have a go at our spooky word search – here
- Enjoy our ZooLab Halloween Special on the 31st October – here
- Enjoy this special activity pack from our partners at ZooLab – here