How America stole Halloween, trick or treat and pumpkin carving from IRELAND – the story is much sadder than you think | The Sun

THIS weekend Halloween will be celebrated across the world, with trick or treating, pumpkin carving and fancy dress, but few people are aware of how the festival actually began.

Many people think that Halloween is an American invention, but in actual fact its origins are from much closer to home.

Halloween actually originated from the Samhain festival in Ireland and the Irish took it over to America with them, where it is now celebrated throughout the country.

There are elements of the Samhain festival that account for all of our best-known Halloween traditions, which are still carried out every October.

Firstly, fancy dress comes as a result of a mischievous Celtic folklore character named Púca, who was said to appear around this time of year.

The story goes that if Púca appeared at your house and said your name, you'd never be seen again because Púca would make you disappear.

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Therefore, people would dress up in different outfits to avoid being recognised by the creature, so he wouldn't be able to say your name and make you vanish.

Since those days, the Halloween fancy dress concept has changed a fair bit, but it's still one of the traditions most commonly associated with the festival.

Another of those traditions is trick or treat, which also came from Ireland, but has much sadder beginnings than the fun associated with it today.

Instead of children going out looking for sweets, it was originally poor children who would go begging door to door during the festival.

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There are several Halloween-related festivals held throughout Ireland and Northern IrelandCredit: Tourism Ireland

Instead of being dressed in spooky clothing, the children had to sing or dance in hope of a reward, which would often be money instead of sweets.

It was considered very bad form to turn away poor children from the door on Samhain and money is sometimes still handed out in some places instead of sweets.

Some people who are aware of the origins of trick or treat will still make Halloween donations to children's charities as a way of keeping the idea alive.

The other tradition most commonly associated with Halloween is pumpkin carving, or making Jack o'Lanterns, as it's known across the Atlantic.

However, as the name perhaps suggests, that too was an Irish invention rather than an American one.

Instead of pumpkins, it was actually turnips that were carved with scary faces to ward off any evil spirits.

As well as Púca, other supernatural beings and the souls of the dead were also believed to roam the earth during the Samhain festival period and the lanterns were a way of keeping them away from your home.

Pumpkin carving has become more creative now, with much more than just scary faces cut into the faces of the vegetables, but many people will still stick to the spooky theme.

Although America is arguably seen as the country that celebrates Halloween the most, there are still big celebrations in Ireland and Northern Ireland where it all began.

Europe's largest halloween festival is actually held in Derry and it runs from October 28-31 inside the city walls.

More than 90,000 people visit Derry for the Samhain festival, where celebrations include light shows, street performances, food and drink and story telling.

Púca also gets a festival of his own in a place called Trim in County Meath.

That celebration features live music, comedy, story telling and other festivities, including a circus, across the Halloween period.

Ireland is also responsible for another of Halloween's most famous characters, the vampire Dracula, who was created by author Bram Stoker.

This year marks the 125th anniversary of Stoker's book, but what some people may not know is that the Irish writer created Dracula while living in Dublin.

2022 will mark the 10th year that the Irish capital has hosted a Bram Stoker festival over Halloween weekend, which has previously celebrated with outdoor spectacles and installations.

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Meanwhile, these are the best Halloween costumes for 2022.

And this is how you can save on Halloween parties this year.

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