Halloween is one of our most popular holidays, but what's the real story behind the tricks and treats?
Halloween is All-hallow's eve, the night before All Saint's Day (also called All-hallows or All-hallowmas) on November 1, not be confused with All Souls' Day, which is observed on November 2, and is dedicated to those who have died.
Reaching further back, Halloween has traditions in the ancient Celtic festival of Samhain (pronounced sow-in), when people would light bonfires and wear costumes to ward off roaming ghosts.
Learn more in this week's free Almanac Companion—plus, check your Halloween forecast!
Sincerely, your Almanac editors
Some merry, friendly, country-folks,
Together did convene,
To burn their nits, and pou their stocks,
And haud their Halloween.
–Robert Burns (1759–96)