In keeping with Quatr.us’s anti-racist, decolonizing work, we present Halloween as originally a Native American holiday, now overlaid with the contributions of immigrants from all over the world.
We can trace Halloween back to Mayan and Aztec Day of the Dead ceremonies in August. In the 1500s, Spanish missionaries convinced Native Americans to move this holiday to the end of October, to match up with Christian ideas. But it remained an event about death and rebirth.
Then in the 1900s, trick-or-treating, which had been a Christmas thing, got pushed back first to Thanksgiving and then to Halloween.
My own grandmother thought of Halloween trick-or-treating as a recent (and bad) idea. But Halloween remains a celebration of the harvest of American crops – pumpkins and corn. And it’s still about death and rebirth.