Bringing Halloween To America
When the first settlers came to America, they left many old traditions and celebrations from the old world behind, including that of Halloween. Many puritans believed it was a paganistic holiday and had no place in the development of their new life.
So, Halloween was all but forgotten. Until the mid-nineteenth century when millions of immigrants came across the ocean to America. With them, they brought along their long practiced cultural traditions.
Not long after their arrival, America was changing into a veritable melting pot of cultures. And so, adaptations began changing the custom of Halloween into what we now recognize it as today.
Instead of having huge bon fires as part of traditional Halloween celebrations, people would use pumpkins carving out portions and lighting candles inside as lanterns. Ancient costumes worn went from animal skins to more modern attire such as dressing up as ghosts, ghouls, and witches.
And as for the trick-or-treat candy collecting, well, this is believed to have originated from another old tradition that was termed "Souling". Souling was the practice of people going door to door praying for the souls of the departed at their neighbors homes. In exchange for the prayers, the home owners would offer food to their visitors.
Others also believe that trick-or-treating could have stemmed from people leaving food offerings out on their porches during All Hallows Eve to appease the spirits in letting their home and family be at peace.
The true origins of trick-or-treating are still not known for sure. But what we do know is that it sure is loads of fun!
Even with these changes, some regions of America still frowned upon the celebration of Halloween. In places like New England, strict Protestants did not participate in Halloween. Nor did they allow others to take part in such pagan rituals in their communities.
However, in the earlier years, places like Maryland and many southern colonies celebrated Halloween regularly. And today, thanks to the Irish immigrants coming over during the mid-nineteenth century, Halloween has become a national celebrated holiday all across America.