It’s October 31st; Halloween; All Hallows Eve; All Saints Day. Call it what you will, the day has both Christian and pagan roots celebrating the end of warm weather and to honour the spirits of the dead. It was first a Celtic holiday because they celebrated the New Year on November 1st. The night before, the boundary between the worlds of the living and the dead became blurred and the ghosts of the dead returned to earth.
When Christianity spread to Celtic lands it’s believed the Pope attempted to replace the pagan festivities with a church-sanctioned holiday called All-Hallows, with October 31st becoming All-Hallows Eve, which eventually became Halloween. Apparently the costume tradition stems from people thinking they would encounter ghosts if they left their homes tonight so they wore masks to fool ghosts into thinking they were fellow spirits. They also placed bowls of food outside their homes to appease the spirits and prevent them from trying to enter, thereby we have trick or treating. I don’t think kids today know about the origins of Halloween. They just know they’re supposed to say Trick or Treat. I know some folks don’t observe Halloween because they either can’t be bothered, or they’re afraid it might offend someone in today’s politically correct world. If you are out and about tonight, have a safe and fun Halloween and if you run into a ghost, just say “Hey, long time no see”.