Halloween has evolved and been influenced by a number of different cultures and religions, the most important of which are paganism, the Romans, the Celts (the people of Ireland, Scotland, Britain, Wales) and Christianity.
However, almost all of the traditions surrounding Halloween as we know it today can be traced back to the Celtic Day of the Dead, a pagan holiday.
Samhain was the name of the Druid god of the dead. The Druids were a religious order amongst the Celts. On this day, they would try to appease their Lord of Death. These Druids also believed that witches rode on broom sticks and that ghosts were the cause of supernatural occurrences.
The belief was that on the eve of the Celtic New Year (which for them was October 31), the souls of the dead people roamed the land of the living. The Devil, spirits and witches were also believed to be moving about and at the height of their power.
Halloween was also a time for MAJOR Shirk (making partners with God).
There were games and rituals which involved fortune-telling Young people, for instance, would try to see what their marriage prospects were using omens like apple pairings that were thrown over their shoulders, or nuts being burned in a fire.
The Pope, in the eight century, decided to Christianize this pagan holiday since he wanted people to abandon the occult and idolatrous practices associated with it, and made November 1 All Saints' Day or All Hallows' (Holy) Day. This is a day to remember all of the Christians who died for their faith. October 31 was then considered All Hallow's Eve, and this word later evolved into the modern day Halloween.
Some reasons behind certain Halloween traditions:
Most of the Halloween activities participated in today can be traced back to occult symbolism. For example:
1. Dressing up in costumes: This was done so that the spirits of the dead would not recognize people. The Druids would actually sacrifice animals and sometimes humans and dress in these animal skins. Wearing these clothes, the would engage in fortune-telling
Another explanation is that today, children who dress up represent these spirits.
2. Trick-or-treating: The Druids would go from house to house on October 31 and demand specific types of food. If their demands were not met, it was believed the people and their homes would be cursed with trouble, sickness and death. Prosperity was promised to those who generously donated.
Today, when kids are offered treats by neighbors, this goes back to the time people would offer food to appease the spirits.
3. Jack-o'-lantern: This started off as a legend associated with a man of Irish origin named Jack who supposedly enjoyed playing pranks on the Devil. After his death, Jack did not go to Heaven or Hell and therefore, had to wander the earth carrying a lantern which gave him some light to see where he was going. Pumpkins that were hollowed out and had candles lighted inside did the job and they were also supposed to scare evil spirits away.
Some consider them as symbols of torches of Halloweens past.
Br. Abdullah Hakim Quick's advice on Halloween:
Abdullah Hakim Quick is an Islamic scholar and an historian featured in the video documentary Holiday Myths, which discusses the origins of Halloween and a number of other holidays and celebrations common in Western culture.
This is his advice to Muslims for Halloween.
1. Avoid it, it's a night of evil. Satan is our open enemy and we do not play with evil.
2. Trick-or-treating is really kids begging for candy. Prophet Mohammed (peace and blessings be upon him) disliked and discouraged begging.
3. Remember that some Satanic movements have engaged in dangerous acts, like rape and kidnapping on Halloween.
4. Despite our position regarding this holiday, we must respect the rights of those who believe it is a part of their religion or consider it to be just a little fun.