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By the time AD 43 rolled around, the Romans had conquered the Celtic territories and attempted to instill Christianity into their beliefs. One means of doing so was to put an end to the “Festival of Samhain” and to begin “All Hallows Eve.” This change would eliminate the sacrificial offerings to the dead, and instead focus solely on the celebration of honoring the dearly deceased.
Halloween, often referred to as All Saints Day, was originally a day of celebration of life and death. Of Celtic origin, the Festival of Samhain took place on November 1st – the New Year – and marked the end of summer and the beginning of the cold and dreary winter. The Celtics believed that on the eve of the New Year, the ghosts of their deceased would return to roam the earth. In celebration of this blessed event, the Celts would offer sacrifices and burn crops as a means to appease the spirits. The Celts would also dress up in “costume” by wearing the heads and skins of various animals.
Annual fall festivals were commonplace by the time the of the mid 1800’s, and by combining English and Irish traditions, Americans began to dress in costume and visit from house to house requesting food and money.