The meaning of Halloween has changed, so have we!
Abbie Riglin, Photo Editor
Halloween has always been my favourite holiday. It was one that came and went fast, didn’t require as much effort as Thanksgiving and Christmas, but still important enough to have a whole set of decorations designated for it.
It was a day I prepped for. What would I wear? What pillowcase would I bring? Was it big enough for all my candy? How far back would my dad have to stand in order for me to still look cool with my friends? In fact, was there a way to convince my parents that I was old enough to go without them?
Much like my ideas on the day, Halloween itself has changed in meaning, tradition and even in name since its origin. Originally, Halloween came from the ancient Celtic festival of Samhain, a day marking the end of summer and harvest and the beginning of winter, a time of year that was associated with death.
Eventually Pope Gregory III claimed Nov. 1 All Saints Day, with the evening before known as All Hallows Eve, and later Halloween, including activities we still do today like trick-or-treating, carving jack-o-lanterns, costumes and festivals.
Halloween started with roots buried deep in religion and skeptics, with every religion having their own versions of the Christian Halloween, or having reasons for being against it, as it has been seen as a holiday built for worshipping the devil.
Now, Halloween has been all but stripped of its religious connotations and has become a day of youthful fun and an excuse to have more candy than you can handle. For me, as cliché as it sounds, Halloween was an excuse to be something else.
I could finally show off my interests and favourite fictional characters without being made fun of, although Halloween in Calgary means winter jackets. It doesn’t matter whether it was under or over your costume, it ruined everything. When you are young, the costume means everything, because the better the costume, the better the candy, at least this is how I thought about it. From a tiger to a pillow, my costumes killed it, best in show if I do say so myself.
Truthfully, the most heartbreaking part about growing up was no longer being able to trick-or-treat. It wasn’t about the candy at that point, it was outright being told I was no longer cute enough for begging to be appropriate.
After that, dressing up felt useless, until high school when parties were held and dressing up was a requirement. It might have felt lame at the time, but I’m thankful now for the people who reminded me what it was like to be a kid again. At that point it was all about the excuse to have a party and partake in activities that seem extremely questionable now, I’m looking at you shot ski.
Although Halloween was something I hadn’t really participated in once I got into university, I found myself missing it during the COVID-19 pandemic. I missed handing out candy and seeing Roger, my seven-year-old neighbour, re-use his Pikachu costume, I missed the crowds in the street at twilight and I missed using the night as an excuse to explore my own inner child.
After exploring the history and meaning of Halloween, I’m more excited than ever to revamp my personal meaning of the day, intertwining old and new traditions, and seeing the change in meaning and in season.