A Look Into the History of Halloween


It’s that time of year again­! Our annual Mini Monsters Bash is right around the corner, so to get everyone excited, here’s a little bit about the history of Halloween!

santa and firefighter

We all know Halloween as the last day in October when you dress in a costume and ask for candy from your neighbors (those who have their porch lights on, of course!). Jack-o-lanterns, corn mazes, flannels, and bobbing for apples are just a few of the traditions commonly associated with the harvest season, which is right around the time of Halloween. What many people don’t know is why Halloween and its associated fall activities are even celebrated in the first place. Alas, we must turn to history for the answers…

Imagine yourself in Ireland on Halloween… only 2,000 years ago. The Celts would be celebrating the festival of Samhain, marking the end of harvest and the beginning of winter. This holiday was commonly associated with the transition from life to death, and it was believed that the ghosts of those passed came back that night. Bonfires, costumes, and stories were commemorative traditions the Celts partook in, which have all trickled down in history to become things we still do in modern times.

jack o lanterns

As the Roman Empire grew in numbers and strength, they conquered the Celtic lands and brought about new harvest traditions that still influence Halloween, such as bobbing for apples and making the day about those who have died. The colliding of cultures eventually shifted in the 9th century, as November 1st became known as All Saints Day, while October 31st was labeled as All-Hallows Eve. These days of celebration were similar to Samhain, and ultimately created the holiday that we call Halloween.

This holiday was not always as popular as it is now. Early America was home to many different people, which meant they each had their own ways of celebrating Halloween, some excluding the ‘pagan’ holiday altogether. Over time though, many of these traditions warped together and started to include trick-or-treating, parties, and dressing up in costumes. Halloween was a full-blown reason to celebrate by the mid-20th century, and it still gives people a reason to gather with family and friends (and eat candy!). Who knows how Halloween might change in the future…

candy corn.jpg

Halloween Fun Facts:

  • Beginning in the 1900s, The United States adopted the tradition of trick-or-treating
  • Americans spend around $6 billion on Halloween candy
  • Popular Halloween movies include: Halloween, Nightmare on Elm Street, and The Nightmare Before Christmas

Now that you know a little bit more about Halloween, be sure to stop by the museum on October 31st from 10am-12pm to partake in our spooky but fun Halloween festivities during our annual Mini Monsters Bash. Games, crafts, and the mini-maze await– can’t wait to see you there wearing your best costumes! Be there or beware!

Mini MonstersMini Monsters Bash


Museum hours and admission:

Tuesday-Friday: 10am-4pm

Saturday: 10am-5pm

Sunday: 1pm-5pm

Mondays: Closed

$12 General Admission

$11 La Habra residents

For more information on this topic, click here.

“Halloween 2019” (October 9, 2019). History.com. https://www.history.com/topics/halloween/history-of-halloween