Words - 292 Reading Level - 6.9

Halloween is a combination of holidays and many traditions. It is a night of ghosts, goblins, witches, trick or treat and costumes. How did all of these customs start?

The Celts, a group of people who lived in France and the British Isles, were the first people to celebrate Halloween. Only they called it "Samhain," which means the end of the summer. The Celts believed that spirits of the harvested fruits and vegetables and the ghosts of people visited the earth on October 31. They lit huge bonfires on hilltops to scare the ghosts away.

Years later, the Celts converted to Christianity. Christians celebrated All Hallows Day (All Saints' Day) on November 1, as a day to remember important Christians who had died. The Celts called it the night before "All Hallows E'en," which later became Halloween or holy evening.

Trick or treating is a favorite Halloween custom which began in Ireland. People would go from house to house and beg for food on October 31. They promised good luck to those who gave and bad luck to those who didn't.

The custom of wearing spooky costumes on Halloween also began in Ireland. The Irish were convinced that evil spirits roamed about the earth on Halloween. They wanted to fool the evil spirits into thinking they were spirits too, so they dressed up as ghosts and goblins. By doing this they hoped to escape the spirits' evil deeds.

Out of all these early traditions came a most exciting holiday. People get dressed up in all types of costumes and get to go trick or treating and collect a lot of candy. Even though most of their ideas have been changed over the years, we have a lot to thank the Celts for.

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