Halloween's Celtic Roots
Historians generally point to the ancient Celts as the original founders of Halloween. They celebrated the end of harvest and the beginning of their new year with the pagan festival Samhain (pronounced "sow-en"), which took place on Nov. 1. The Celts believed that on the night before Samhain, the dead roamed the Earth, and they lit fires and wore disguises to protect themselves from any accompanying evil spirits. In the eighth century, the Catholic Church designated Nov. 1 as All Saints' Day, and the day before became All Hallow's Eve, eventually shortened to Halloween.