Holiday Has-Been This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

     Halloween does not deserve to be called a holiday. “Holiday” means “holy day,” but Halloween does not fit this definition. It has deteriorated into a candy fest and a costume-celebrating commercial event, an excuse for money-hungry marketers to sell over three billion dollars worth of merchandise every year.

Halloween began as the ancient Celtic festival Samhain, pronounced sow-en and meaning “summer’s end.” Samhain marked the Celtic new year and was celebrated on October 31. It was believed that on this day the souls of the dead wandered the earth looking for bodies to possess for the coming year. The priest would light a bonfire in the middle of the village to thank the sun god for the harvest and to repel the evil spirits. The villagers would then proceed from their homes to the bonfire, dressing as monsters and being as destructive as they could in order to ward off the spirits.

In the early 600’s, Pope Boniface IV was trying to spread Christianity to pagan people. Since he could not stop them from celebrating Samhain, he put a Christian spin on it by moving All Saints Day (a.k.a. “All Hallow’s”) from November 2 to November 1. October 31 then was referred to as “All Hallow’s Eve,” which has become our “Halloween.”

Today, Halloween makes us think of costumes and candy more than its pagan and Christian roots. The typical buyer is projected by the National Retail Federation to spend almost $50 on Halloween decorations, candy, and costumes. It has degenerated into nothing more than a commercial event: just an excuse to buy stuff in-between real holidays.

This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.

Join the Discussion

This article has 35 comments. Post your own now!

AnonymousPoster said...
Aug. 16, 2010 at 5:10 pm
If you think about it, Halloween is probably one of the least commercial holidays.

All are based on some parts of history, from the Jack O' Laterns (which was based on an Irish Folk tale) to the apple bobbing, to the trick or treating (at the end of the fall harvest everyone would go around tasting each others meals. The ones who didn't have any had a "trick" played on them) to the witchs (you've probably heard tales about this).

Halloween is a wonderful mixture of many di... (more »)
shinytarly said...
Apr. 6, 2010 at 11:26 am

I enjoy the direction of this piece. All to often we find that what was once a sacred day or rite in a certain culture, is merely reduced into a commercialized smorgasboard of candy and gifts.

If there was one complaint I have about this piece, is the fact that it's scope is way too narrow. The premise that Halloween is the only Holiday to be subject to sacralige is quite undeveloped. You'll find that every Holiday, from Halloween to Easter to Christmas, now feature a mascot enticing t... (more »)

mandapanda91 replied...
Jul. 26, 2010 at 11:40 am
Good direction, though researching more would be great and some of us do actually celebrate the old ways and know that 90% of all "modern" holidays are based upon centuries of pagan holidays. IE Christmas- Saturnalia.
KitCat said...
Apr. 6, 2010 at 6:10 am
I like your point of view but halloween started in the ancient time to celebrate death it's less commonly known as alll souls eve. people used to believe it's where the spirits of the dead haunt the streets but it has been changed to gain something out of it. So it used to be an ancient holiday but now it's an excuse to get chocolate and sweets and to buy scary merchandise. Halloween is great and all too.
skywitch said...
Mar. 31, 2010 at 1:27 pm
Me and my family spend no more that $10 each year on halloween for candy, my mom used to make my costume. And if we're going to talk commercial events what about Christmas? What about people buying all those presents?
Claudia M. This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Feb. 4, 2010 at 8:04 pm
If every holiday were to be "holy," we would have a minute amount of them. Thanksgiving, for example, is not a holiday with holy origins. And Christmas? It was originally a PAGAN holiday that Christians adopted in an attempt to draw more people to their religion. Valentine's Day? Well, that provokes more of the teenage "love," frowned upon in most religions. Groundhog Day-- well, that's self-explanatory. And even those few holidays with religious origins from the ... (more »)
SilverSnowflakes replied...
Mar. 24, 2010 at 7:36 am
what about Holy Thursday? Good Friday? I don't think they've been commercialized, lol. but they may be the only two....
BaiLiHua This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Jan. 30, 2010 at 8:46 pm
Thanks for the Halloween information. The thing is, a lot of holidays have become commercial. Good for you for observing Halloween in your own, more serious way.
drhorriblylate said...
Jan. 30, 2010 at 4:33 pm
okay holloween is not satanic, it's just been exploited for it's commercial value. If you even read the article it says it began as a pagan holiday but was assimilated into Christianity . The exact same thing happened with the adoption of the Christmas tree from germanic pagans when St. Boniface used their sacred tree dedicated to Thor and christianized it.
Kelz1141 said...
Dec. 17, 2009 at 2:10 pm
In my opinion you are takeing it way to sieriously. Halloween is about haveing fun and createing memories as every holiday is, but if you choose to miss out on some laughs and great times than you have every right to do so.
MarilynMonroe This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Dec. 4, 2009 at 2:16 pm
But Halloween "all Hallows Eve" or the Eve of all saints day. That is a holy day. I agree it has become a commercialized holiday that degrades women (have you SEEN the costumes??! I was going to be supergirl but had to change when I actually saw the costumes...)
Chane_2014 said...
Nov. 25, 2009 at 6:58 pm
You know, as a christian I do not celebrat Halloween,and I glad that someone finaly agrees with me when I say Halloween is a satanic day, and I really likehow you said that is does not even deserve to be a holiday.
Camplover7 replied...
Jan. 8, 2010 at 9:05 pm
I'm a christian as well and do not celebrate halloween either, instead my family take the day of and go and see a movie and go out for pizza. that way i don't have to face all pressures at school and i still have a good time while i'm at it. good article by the way, i'm glad someone got that side out there. :D
earthy_kat replied...
Feb. 15, 2010 at 12:06 pm
Chane_2014, to you think Halloween is "satanic" because of its Wiccan/Pagan roots?Or just because people run around dressed up in bloody costumes and have fun?
GypsyRose replied...
Mar. 18, 2010 at 8:36 am
Where?...anywhere in this piece did ANYTHING say Samhain is Satanic?....I do not degrade your religion, i would thank you not to degrade mine. *frosty glare*
Site Feedback