Making History: Halloween

Halloween may go down in the books as one of your child’s favorite holidays of the year. Surveys show that children love the spooky holiday nearly as much as they love Christmas! At Stikii, what is important to children is important to us as well. Thus, we begin our Halloween Blog session. Over the next few weeks we will share with you some thoughts and information on this very special fall holiday.

Halloween is celebrated on the last day of October (October 31) and traditional activities include trick-or-treating, costume parties, ghost stories, haunted houses and carving jack-o-lanterns.  The holiday is celebrated in countries such as the US, Scotland, Ireland, Canada, Puerto Rico, the UK, Australia and New Zealand.

Though the United States is known for its Halloween celebrations, the holiday actually originates from the ancient Celtic festival known as Samhain. This festival celebrates the end of the harvest season in Gaelic culture. On this day, the ancient pagans would take stock of supplies and prepare for the treacherous winter months. The Gaels also believed that on October 31st, the window between the worlds of the living and the dead would open and the deceased could come back to life and reap havoc on the locals by creating mass illness or damaging crops.

Samhain was considered to be a magical holiday on which strange and enchanting things would occur. It has been said that offerings of food and drink were left to aid unleashed spirits, or to ward them away. Others tell tales of the Celts dressing up in peculiar costumes and roaming the neighborhoods in order to scare the spirits away.  On this day many thought they could predict the future or even communicate with the dead, and often enough, unusual behavior was observed by a normally structured and quiet civilization.

Sacred bonfires were lit in the center of town in honor of the Pagan gods and the Celts would gather (some in costumer as well) to celebrate the harvest and discuss the upcoming months. Faeries (known to us as fairies) were believed to roam the land during Samhain, dressed as beggars asking for food door to door. Those that gave food to the faeries were rewarded, while those that did not were punished by the faeries. It is from this ritual that modern day “trick or treating” originated.

In the First century A.D., as Christianity spread across the globe, the Pagan festival (Christians did not like a festival with Pagan roots) was replaced with “All Saints Day” to honor dead church saints and martyrs. However, Samhain continued to be celebrated and eventually, All Saints day was moved to November 1, and was also known as All Hallows. Since Samhain remained on October 31st it became to be known as All Hallows Eve, and now, as Halloween.  November 2nd was designated as All Souls day to hour the dead who were not saints, but now the two are celebrated as one.

Over the next several centuries, superstitions about witches and black cats were added to the folklore and legends of Halloween. Cats were thought of as evil, especially black cats, and were killed by the thousands in Medieval times, possibly contributing to the Black Plague, due to the shortage of the rat’s natural enemy, the cat. During this time, the church created the belief that evil witches existed. Jack-o-lanterns can be traced back to early Pagan Celtic peoples who would hollow out turnips, gourds, or rutabagas to hold an ember from the sacred bonfire, so they could light their home fires from the sacred bonfire. We now carve faces and other shapes into pumpkins.

Halloween was not a popular observance in early United States history, as most of the early settlers were Protestant. At the time, Halloween was considered mostly a Catholic, Episcopalian, and Pagan holiday. Colonies such as Virginia and Maryland, observed some Halloween customs. The first common events included “play parties” where neighborhoods would gather together to celebrate the harvest, dance, sing, tell stories of the dead, tell fortunes, and have pageants for children in costume.

By the mid twentieth century, Halloween turned into a secular holiday, community centered with parties city-wide, parades, and great costumes. Halloween is mostly aimed to children, but young and old enjoy this holiday, with events and parties for both children and adults.

Some modern day Halloween traditions include:

  • Trick or Treat
  • Costumes
  • Bonfires
  • Bobbing for apples
  • Jack o’lanterns
  • Ghost stories
  • Haunted houses
  • Scary movies
  • Hay rides
  • Corn mazes

Stikii recognizes Halloween as a fun time for children to dress up and be carefree. The holiday is memorable and enjoyable, just like our shoes. In the future, Stikii may even release some Halloween themed Stik-ems that would be perfect on costumed feet!  Stik-em accessories would also make for a great alternative to Hallowwen candy. When trick or treaters come knocking on your door, hand them a Stik-em and we asure you that the costumed cuties will leave with a smile on their face! For more information on Stikii shoes and Stik-em accessories, become a fan on Facebook. Visit us at Our products are set to release on December 1, 2011.