Past and present Halloween rituals

By on October 30, 2003

Pumpkins, ghosts and witches have been put up in windows everywhere, from Commons to Mountainview. Halloween is almost here and people are putting their ghoulish spirits on display.

According to, “Halloween dates back 2000 years and is a Celtic celebration of the dead.” Celts would celebrate on the first day of Celtic New Year, Nov. 1, but believed that spirits would return on Oct. 31, naming what today is called Halloween, All Hallow’s Eve. On this day, the Celts would sacrifice and wear costumes to honor the dead.

Celts would cut faces into gourds and turnips and roam around the streets. At some point in history, gourds and turnips were replaced with pumpkins because they are easier to carve, according to

“I’ll probably get some pumpkins,” said John Belmonte, junior physical therapy major, but he does not plan on carving them because “it makes them rot faster.”

In Celtic times, fairies were also believed to appear on this special day, and go house to house, so people would leave food outside to gain blessings. People would go house to house and impersonate fairies to obtain free food. Today, this is replaced by trick-or-treating.

Melissa Soto and Pamela Silva, residents of Irma, have a fully ornamented door in Halloween decorations. “We wanted our door to look pretty,” said Silva.

Belmonte plans on decorating Halloween-style and said, “Seeing the pumpkins and scary stuff makes Halloween more fun and gives me a better Halloween feeling.”

In regards to people who chose not to decorate for Halloween: “Why not? Is it a big deal to put up a sign or two? Everyone decorates for Christmas, why not Halloween?” said Belmonte.

Resident Katie Doyle decorated her Hill suite.

“My mom sends decorations every year. It makes our dorms look homey. I don’t think I’d go out and buy them but I love decorating,” said Doyle, a physical therapy major.

Some people get excited and decorate their rooms in orange and black, but others do not appreciate Halloween as much.

“I don’t really get excited about Halloween. I like giving out candy, [but] I like Christmas better,” said Adriana Palella, junior nursing major.

“One of the best parts is getting all dressed up with my roommates. This year we are being mobsters from the 20’s. It should be fun,” said Palella.

“I’m going to be a cheerleader,” said Belmonte.

Cheerleaders, ghosts, vampires, zombies, princesses, fairies, angels, devils and anything else that can be imagined will be seen walking down Bobcat Alley this weekend.

Although decorations and celebration of Halloween has changed a lot in the past 2000 years, it is still actively celebrated and enjoyed.


About Nicole Silva