The contemporary celebration of Halloween comes from the ancient Celtic festival of `Samhain.â€™ It is an annual celebration observed on October 31. It is a tapered version of All Hallows Eve. Halloween came to America through the Irish, who are believed to be modern descendents of the Celts. When the potato crop failed in Ireland, they migrated to America and brought their cultural practices with them.
Halloween was also observed as a harvest festival and New Year by the Celts. It also served as a vent for high morale before the onset of winter. In fact, in the 5th Century B.C. in Celtic Ireland summer officially ended on October 31 and the Samhain was observed on this occasion.
Masks are now used as part of Halloween celebrations. There are foam latex faces of ape men, aliens, demons, devils, mummies, reptiles, skulls, swamp witches, vampires, werewolves, zombies and other scary monsters.
The ancient Celts believed that all those who had died throughout the preceding year would come back in search of living bodies to possess for the next year. This was unacceptable for living people, so on the night of October 31 villagers would put out fires in their homes to make the spirits feel discarded. They would then dress up in all manner of macabre costumes and parade around the neighborhood in order to scare away spirits looking for live bodies to possess. There is also a record of Celts flaming up people thought to be haunted, as a stern warning to the spirits. However, modern historians dismiss these as fairy tales.