Spooky San Diego and Some Halloween History

     Today, Halloween is a time when we all don masks and costumes, binge on candy and harken back to our inner child, allowing ourselves to be overtaken, frightened and entertained by all things that go bump in the night! But did you know that the origins of Halloween began 2,000 years ago? The six billion dollar industry that is Halloween today began very differently…

     Halloween began around the time of the Ancient Celtic Festival of the Dead, called Samhain, (pronounced sow-in) when the Celts celebrated their new year on November 1st, marking the end of summer and harvest and the beginning of the winter; Dark, cold, and reminiscent of death. The Celts believed that on the night before the new year, the boundary between the worlds of the living and the dead became blurred. On October 31st, the day of Samhain, ghosts of the dead walked the earth causing trouble and destruction; People would wear masks when they left their homes so the spirits would mistake them for fellow spirits and leave them unharmed. However, not all roots were dark, these spirits were also believed to help townspeople foretell the future and prepare them for the year ahead. Whatever the reality, the history of the Celts helped to create the Halloween that we celebrate today.

     As centuries passed, the influence of Christianity continued to spread to Celtic lands, and in 1000 A.D. the church made November 2nd All Soul’s Day. This was a day to honour the dead and was an attempt to gently replace Samhain with a church sanctioned holiday. This celebration was also called All-Hallow’s, the night before it was known as All-Hallow’s Eve… and eventually, Halloween.

     It wasn’t until the turn of the century that Halloween began to evolve to the holiday that it is today. The family and community centred holiday of trick or treating grew from a time when people would dress up and venture door to door and through the streets of town, asking others for food or money. If these individuals didn’t want to be tricked, they would have to pay with a ‘treat’. Today, we’ve turned this into a much more light-hearted tradition, but its roots still exist. Now, everything from parades, haunted houses and parties are celebrated and enjoyed by children and adults alike.

     With that in mind, if you’re in San Diego during this spooky time of year, there are a number of ways you can celebrate! Check out our local Halloween Spooktacular Events. Some family friendly, some you may enter if you dare…Drumroll, or perhaps a banshee scream, please…

Boomont Park 
Haunt Fest on Main 
The Haunted Trail: Balboa Park
The Scream Zone
Pumpkin Express
The Haunted Hotel

     And if you aren’t already, here is a little tune to help put you in the Halloween Spirit, from good old Jack Skellington. Happy Halloween!!



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