Halloween is an ancient festival, which has its roots in the Celtic festival of Samhain (Sah-ween), this was when the Celts (the ancient inhabitants of Great Britain) celebrated their New Year and the day they believed that the souls of those who had died that year progressed to the underworld. It was said to be a night when ghosts, demons and witches roamed the earth and people tried to placate them with offerings of nuts and berries.
Nowadays these offerings are more likely to be the Mars Bars and Snickers (formerly Marathons) given out to children trick or treating, but it remains a day when we can acknowledge our fears and celebrate forces we do not understand. Today in the UK it is celebrated on All Hallows Eve, the night of October 31, the last night of October which was originally the eve of Samhain.
JACK O’ LANTERN
It was the Irish who brought the tradition of the Jack O'Lantern to America. The practice of carving Jack-o'-lanterns goes back to the Irish legend of Jack, a lazy but shrewd farmer who tricked the Devil into a tree, then refused to let the Devil down unless the Devil agreed to never let Jack into Hell . The story goes that the Devil agreed, but when Jack died, he was too sinful to be allowed into Heaven, and the Devil wouldn't let him into Hell. So, Jack carved out one of his turnips, put a candle inside it, and began endlessly wandering the Earth for a resting place. He was known as Jack of the Lantern, or Jack-O'-Lantern.