The Right Coast

October 30, 2005
Who invented Halloween?
By Tom Smith

Irish Catholics, of course. Well, Celts generally, including Scots and so forth. November 1 was their new year's day, and the day before that, the feast of Samhain, the Lord of the Dead, during which the dead, witches, goblins and others returned to earth for a while. Scary masks and bonfires were to scare them away. In 835, Pope Gregory IV moved all martyrs' day, later all saints', to November 1, cleverly co-opting the holiday. The day before it became known as All Hallows Eve, shortened to Halloween. The custom of going door to door asking for candy is Irish in origin, brought here my immigrants. The Irish custom was to go door to door collecting items for the village feast held on All Hallow's Eve.