History of Halloween and costumes on a budget

Celebrate Halloween but want to know the details of how it all started? Or just want to impress drinking buddies during one of the Halloween parties? Whatever the reason, we’ve got you covered.

As you may have suspected, Halloween has pagan origins. It started as a Celtic holiday of Samgain. Celts celebrated their new year on November 1. October 31 would mark the end of summer and the beginning of the dark and cold winter which was often associated with human death. Because of that, they believed that the line between the dead and the living was the thinest on October 31 and that the ghosts returned to earth.

In addition to that, they believed that the presence of the spirits would make it easier for their priests, or Druids to predict the future. To make the spirits help the Druids, they would build bonfires where they would burn crops and make animal sacrifices to the Celtic deities*.

When the ceremony was over, they would extinguish the bonfires to protect them during the coming winter.

In the 8th century, Pope Gregory III designated November 1 as the All Saints Day to honor all the saints. And the day before was known as All Hallows Eve, but for simplicity, now is known as Halloween. Over time, Christianity took over the basic traditions and made it into a part of the pop culture every year.


Originates in England. During the festivities of All Hallows Eve, the poor would beg for food and the families would give them “soul cakes”. In return, the poor promised to pray for the family’s dead relatives. The distribution of soul cakes was encouraged by the church which wanted to replace the pagan practice of leaving the food for the roaming spirits. Eventually, the practice was taken by the children who would visit houses and then would be given ale, food or money.

Black Cats

Rooted in Middle Ages, when people were scared off witches. The belief was that witches avoided detection by turning themselves into black cats. That’s why crossing paths with black cats was thought to bring bad luck.

Costume ideas on a budget?

Dress as you usually would for university, put some dark make-up or smudge charcoal under your eyes. You can go as a ghost of a student that was killed by deadlines.

Take a box in which your torso can fit, cut out holes for head and arms. Write on the box the address and be the order that never got delivered.

Want something more creative?

We found a Pinterest board that may help

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