Origins of Halloween in the United States

Halloween is a treasured time for many children in the United States. Dressing up in a costume, going trick-or-treating, and spending time with their families is a tradition that goes back several generations.

With the kids hyped-up for Halloween this year, parents may want to take their preferred items from Kirkman and Douglas Labs to be ready for the experience. The 2020 version of this holiday may look a little different with some mask or gathering requirements, so please follow whatever local guidelines are in place for your community.

When you’re finished gathering candy, you can talk about the origins of Halloween in America.

How Did Halloween Get Started in the United States?

The first Halloween celebrations in the United States involved the colonists. Many of the old Celtic religious practices were still followed even though most people had converted to Christianity. All Hallow’s Eve marked the end of the growing season, with celebrations involving animal costumes and fortune-telling. 

When Irish immigrants started coming to the United States in the 1800s, their updated Halloween traditions came along for the ride.

Instead of dressing up as animals at private parties, the event had shifted to asking neighbors for money or food. They pulled pranks on some of them, evolving into the idea of trick-or-treating that kids say after knocking on a door today. 

Most communities didn’t offer much candy or food during the early 20th century Halloween celebrations. Some pranks got so out of control that they became logistical expenses for cities to manage. One way to switch the holiday to something more family-friendly was to offer candy, with several companies obliging.

That process helped to create the modern Halloween holiday that we celebrate today. You still might get a trick or two out there each year, but that outcome might be better than getting a box of raisins.