Celtic priests "Druids" prayed for people late in the fall last day of the harvest.
Samhain, Day of the Dead: The Celts believed that the dead that died that year were free to walk the earth. In order to keep them at bay, they made food and sweets offerings at the edge of their villages. Hence the tradition of Trick or Treating.
Celtic Fire Festival
Samhain night was the best night for predicting the future because the spirits helped in giving them the answers.
Druids told stories that ran deep into the night. Most likely the origin of telling ghost stories.
Around the same time Celts made animal sacrifices to honor the earth for providing their harvest. A way of giving back.
November 1st Harvest Festival: Pamona the goddess of gardens and fruits. Apple bobbin originates from this festival.
Christians vs Pagan (Pope Gregory)
In order to convert pagans in to Christians the church adopted pagan festivals as Christian ones. All Saints Day=Hallow's Day hallows meaning saints. And it was the eve of all hallow's...Hallow Eve=Halloween.
The Church also established Nov. 2nd as all souls day, honoring all those had died. Cementing further Samhain with these holy days.
Witches came from the word Wicca. Usually sorcerer pagan women. Witch hunts were done because the Christian clergy of men who saw a problem with powerful women.
1486 Pope Innocent the 8th outlawed the pagan Celtic religion because it clashed with Christian tradition of men being heads of church.
The (black) cat was associated with a witches spirit in animal form because it was by nature, nocturnal. Bats and owls were also in the mix.
Mexican - Dia de los Muertos
All souls day blended with indigenous practices.
Puritans in America
Puritans denounced anything catholic or pagan resulting in the Salem witch trials.
Halloween however was openly celebrated in (Virginia) and other colonies that were mainly catholic as well as in the south.
Divination / Predictions: Sample: women looked for future husbands face in the food they cooked in a fire.
Halloween got a big boost when large Irish immigration started to pour into America.
Jack-o- lanterns were American tradition (easier to carve) and turnips in Ireland.
(Wicca) Apples have been associated as sacred fruit. Five pointed star when cut in half.
Knife inside chalice: male & female life energies. Harvest
Basis of Halloween is Pagan witches and spirits (ghosts) demons(catholic association) were early popular costumes worn by children in America. Other costumes emerged as companies saw an opportunity for sales with popular characters of the time. Cowboys, bugs bunny, ect.