Halloween The origins
For several hundred years before Christ, the Celts inhabited what is now France, Germany, England, Scotland and Ireland. Celtic priests were called Druids. These people were eventually conquered by the Romans.
Information about the Celts and Druids comes from Caesar and the Roman historians, Greek writings from about 200 B.C., and very early records found in Ireland. Greek and Roman writings about the Druids dwell heavily on their frequent and barbaric human sacrifices. The ancient Irish texts say little about human sacrifices, but detail the Druids' use of magic to raise storms, lay curses on places, kill by the use of spells, and create magical obstacles.
Davies, however, a 16th century writer who traced his family lineage directly back to Druid priests who fought against Caesar, clearly describes the human sacrifices of his ancestors and the secret sacrifices still performed regularly by the Druids of his time.
By 47 A.D., Rome finally defeated the Druids in Britain and outlawed human sacrifices. The few remaining Druids went underground.
Today a growing group of people claiming to be of direct Druid descent, still practice their religion, including human sacrifice. Those in England still perform ceremonies at Stonehenge.
November 1st was the Celtic new year
October 31st was celebrated by the Druids with many human sacrifices and a festival honoring their sun god and Samhain, the lord of the dead. They believed that the sinful souls of those who died during the year were in a place of torment, and would be released only if Samhain was pleased with their sacrifices.
Trick or Treat?
The modern custom of going from door to door asking for food and candy goes back to the time of the Druids. They believed that sinful, lost souls were released upon the earth by Samhain for one night on October 31st while they awaited their judgment. They were thought to throng about the houses of the living and were greeted with banquet-laden tables. People greatly feared these spirits and thought that the spirits would harm and even kill them if the sacrifices they gave did not appease Samhain and in some places they took young maidens. They carved demonic faces into pumpkins or large turnips, placing a candle in them to keep the evil spirits away from their homes.