Spooky Season is Back in Session!

Sofia Espaillat , staff writer

Halloween is just under a month away, which means houses will soon be covered in pumpkins, witches, skeletons, and so much more. Although a whopping 148 million Americans celebrated Halloween last year, how many of us really know where this beloved holiday came from? 

According to History.com, Halloween dates back about 2,000 years ago, to the ancient Celtic festival of Samhain. The Celts, who inhabited parts of present-day Ireland, northern France, and the United Kingdom, celebrated their new year on November 1. 

Since this day symbolized the end of summer, and the transition into the harvest and a cold, dark winter, it was believed that the boundary that separated the world of the living and the dead diminished. October 31 was the celebration of Samhain, when the Celts believed the ghosts of the dead came back to Earth, just like the Latin American holiday Día de los Muertos. 

Celtic priests would build giant bonfires to sacrifice crops and animals to the gods while dressed in costumes, and make predictions about the future. However, as Christanity diffused through the land of the Celts, by the ninth century both Christian and Celtic traditions began to blend. 

Around 1000 A.D., the church named November 2 All Soul’s Day, simply meant to honor the dead. The day before, November 1, was All Saint’s Day. This event was called All-Hallows, and the night before came to be called All-Hallows Eve. Thus came the beloved holiday of Halloween!

As Halloween transferred over to America during the colonial times, the holiday took an interesting turn. 

Public events called “play parties” celebrated the harvest, scary storytelling, and even mischief-making, which became characteristics of early American Halloween. By the second half of the nineteenth century, the influx of new immigrants helped make Halloween a national holiday in the U.S. 

Starting in the 1920’s, the Halloween that is celebrated today was created: trick or treating, parties for all ages, and movies, like the 1978 film Halloween, helped create the holiday we all love! 

Right here at NPHS, both teachers and students are excited for a Halloween that is going to look more normal than last year’s. 

Lily Coniglio, a freshman, believes that age shouldn’t be a factor in having fun during this holiday. When asked about tricking or treating in high school, she said that “you can still go,” as long as you “[…] leave the candy for the little kids!” 

On the other hand, Mrs. Henriques, one of the Spanish teachers, doesn’t totally agree. Although trick or treating usually “phases out” by high school, she believes that there are still “so many other Halloween-related activities that you can do as you get older.” 

Last year, Halloween was characterized by masks and social distancing. Candy was placed on tables at the foot of people’s driveways, and doorbells were never rung by excited kids in their costumes. However, as people seemed to have let their guard down against COVID-19, things may look more normal this year. 

Reese Hageman, a ninth grader, explained how the virus won’t really affect how she will have her Halloween fun: “My plans are pretty much the same as normal. We’re still probably going to go trick or treating. Last  year we went trick or treating, and it wasn’t that different.” 

Aside from plans for October 31, Halloween appears to be a teacher favorite at the high school.

Mrs. Nagle, our high school librarian, said that she enjoys seeing costumes the most:  “One year, this girl was very creative. She graduated like three years ago, and she read a lot of books. Somehow, her and her friends dressed up like characters from a book, I think it was Animal Farm.” 

Mrs. Nagle’s fellow librarian, Mrs. McGraw, couldn’t agree more: “What I really enjoy about our school more than any other is that we don’t go out and buy products. We make our own costumes, and I really love the creativity that I see every year.” 

Outside of school, the commercial aspect of Halloween seems to be an enjoyable one as well.

Mrs. Henriques’ favorite genre of movies are horror, so October is the perfect time to catch up on her all-time favorites:  “Just give me some popcorn and a good horror movie, and I will be on the couch for the rest of the night!” 

As the count-down for Halloween begins, make sure to make plans and enjoy it!

As Mrs. McGraw put it, even though we may be getting older, October is “the perfect time for a holiday!”