- Halloween was born out of the ancient Celtic festival of Samhain when people would wear costumes and have bonfires to ward off ghosts.
- It has now evolved into something much different, but still has roots in all things spooky and scary.
- This article explores the truth and origins behind some of Halloween’s spookiest legends and tales.
Each year on October 31st people celebrate Halloween. It’s arguably the most celebrated day of the month! In the weeks leading up to Halloween, people love to indulge in all things spooky. There will be decorations, parties, costumes, and of course…scary stories. What would Halloween be without a little scare? Even its origin story leans into this.
This holiday dates back to the ancient Celtic festival of Samhain when people believed the boundary between the living and deceased is blurred. It has since evolved into a celebratory day where people dress up as everything from witches to TV characters. But at the heart of it is still a dark history. We’re looking into the spookiest Halloween legends and tales, and where they came from…
Throughout history witches are depicted as evil women with warts on their noses and untamed hair. Wearing capes and pointy hats, they’re often seen hunched over cauldrons or cackling as they ride off on their brooms. Turns out, there is a real history of witches, says History.com and it dates as far back as 900 B.C.
While most early witches were people who practiced witchcraft, many were natural healers. They were referred to as “wise women” who’s profession was largely misunderstood. The earliest records of them are in the Bible, but History.com notes it wasn’t until the mid-1400s when the real witch hysteria took hold in Europe. After this, they became the target of scrutiny and trial.
The portrayal of witches on brooms dates back to 1451 when French poet Martin Le Francs manuscript Le Champion des Dames (The Defender of Ladies) released two illustrations of them on brooms. According to History.com, the truth likely came from a pagan fertility ritual where “rural farmers would leap and dance astride poles, pitchforks or brooms in the light of the full moon to encourage the growth of their crops.” This broomstick dance later evolved into something more sinister, like witches flying through the night to illicit meetings.