The Pagan Roots Of Halloween

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Pagan Roots Of HalloweenMost people that celebrate Halloween have absolutely no idea what they are actually celebrating.  Even though approximately 70 percent of Americans will participate in Halloween festivities once again this year, the vast majority of them are clueless about the fact that this is a holiday that is thousands of years old and that has deeply pagan roots.  If you are going to celebrate something, shouldn’t you at least know what you are celebrating?  Before it was ever known as Halloween, this festival was known as Samhain.  According to Wikipedia, Samhain “is mentioned in some of the earliest Irish literature and is known to have pre-Christian roots”.  The ancient Celts believed that Samhain was the time when the veil between the spirit world and our world was lifted and the ghosts of the dead were able to freely mingle with the living.  It was also a time to honor the Lord of the Dead known as Bel (note the similarity to Baal) or Chrom.  Almost every major Halloween tradition including the jack-o’-lantern, trick-or-treating and wearing costumes is rooted in ancient Celtic practices.  In many areas of early America, Halloween was considered to be so evil that it was banned.  But today most Americans don’t even think twice about celebrating it.


To most people these days, Halloween is just a fun time to dress up, eat candy and attend parties.

But there are others that take this holiday extremely seriously.

For Wiccans, it is one of the most important times of the year.  The following description of Samhain comes from

Samhain, (pronounced SOW-in, SAH-vin, or SAM-hayne) means “End of Summer”, and is the third and final Harvest. The dark winter half of the year commences on this Sabbat.

It is generally celebrated on October 31st, but some traditions prefer November 1st. It is one of the two “spirit-nights” each year, the other being Beltane. It is a magical interval when the mundane laws of time and space are temporarily suspended, and the Thin Veil between the worlds is lifted. Communicating with ancestors and departed loved ones is easy at this time, for they journey through this world on their way to the Summerlands. It is a time to study the Dark Mysteries and honor the Dark Mother and the Dark Father, symbolized by the Crone and her aged Consort.

Originally the “Feast of the Dead” was celebrated in Celtic countries by leaving food offerings on altars and doorsteps for the “wandering dead”. Today a lot of practitioners still carry out that tradition. Single candles were lit and left in a window to help guide the spirits of ancestors and loved ones home. Extra chairs were set to the table and around the hearth for the unseen guest. Apples were buried along roadsides and paths for spirits who were lost or had no descendants to provide for them. Turnips were hollowed out and carved to look like protective spirits, for this was a night of magic and chaos. The Wee Folke became very active, pulling pranks on unsuspecting humans. Traveling after dark was was not advised. People dressed in white (like ghosts), wore disguises made of straw, or dressed as the opposite gender in order to fool the Nature spirits.

So how in the world did a pagan festival known as Samhain become the holiday known as “Halloween” that we celebrate today?

Well, in the early seventh century a Catholic Pope known as Gregory the First decided that the best approach to ensure the continued spread of Catholicism was to “christianize” existing pagan holidays and practices

As a result of their efforts to wipe out “pagan” holidays, such as Samhain, the Christians succeeded in effecting major transformations in it. In 601 A.D. Pope Gregory the First issued a now famous edict to his missionaries concerning the native beliefs and customs of the peoples he hoped to convert. Rather than try to obliterate native peoples’ customs and beliefs, the pope instructed his missionaries to use them: if a group of people worshipped a tree, rather than cut it down, he advised them to consecrate it to Christ and allow its continued worship.

An existing Catholic festival known as All Saints Day (or All Hallows Day) was moved to the same time as Samhain.  Eventually, All Hallows Eve became known as “Halloween”, but many of the ancient Celtic traditions never disappeared.

Most people don’t realize this, but some of these ancient traditions even involved human sacrifice.  The following is what occult expert Bill Schnoebelen says the Druids would do at this time of the year…

Druids worshiped the sun god, called by names like Bel (Ba’al?) or Chrom. On October 31, they believed that he died and went into the kingdom of the dead, Anwynn. The purpose of Samhain was to insure his return. Even witches admit this involved human sacrifice.

Both animal and human blood were believed to be needed to resurrect Bel on Samhain. Human blood was believed to open the gates of Anwynn and released the spirits for a night. Thus, October 31 came to be associated with ghosts. This is not just history. Samhain is still celebrated by Pagans and is the most solemn ceremony on their “religious calendar”.

And of course it is not just Bill Schnoebelen that teaches this.  In fact, the May 1977 edition of National Geographic admitted that Samhain was a time when “firstborn children were sacrificed”.

So back then it definitely was not the light-hearted holiday that most Americans celebrate today.

Other “Halloween traditions” also have their roots in the Druidic practices of the ancient Celts.

For example, have you ever wondered where the “Jack-0-Lantern” comes from?  Here is more from Schnoebelen

Here it’s a pumpkin, but in Europe it was often a turnip, or a skull with a candle in it. This serves two symbols, 1) the lord of the Dead, a “god” just like a Buddha – in short, an idol. 2) The fearsome face represented the god, Samhain, who would drive off less powerful demons that night. The lights in the Jack-o-Lantern symbolize the “faery fires” or “Will’o the Wisps” which were believed to be the lost souls flitting through the night. They also hearken back to the huge Samhain “balefires” which were lit to help conjure back the god from the darkness.

The traditions of dressing up in costumes and going trick-or-treating also come from the Druids.  The following is an excerpt from an article posted on

For example, among the ancient Druids, “The ghosts that were thought to throng about the houses of the living were greeted with a banquet-laden table. At the end of the feast, masked and costumed villagers representing the souls of the dead paraded to the outskirts of town leading the ghosts away.”

As already noted, Halloween was thought to be a night when mischievous and evil spirits roamed freely. As in modern poltergeist lore, mischievous spirits could play tricks on the living—so it was advantageous to “hide” from them by wearing costumes. Masks and costumes were worn to either scare away the ghosts or to keep from being recognized by them:

In Ireland especially, people thought that ghosts and spirits roamed after dark on Halloween. They lit candles or lanterns to keep the spirits away, and if they had to go outside, they wore costumes and masks to frighten the spirits or to keep from being recognized by these unearthly beings.

You may say that “it doesn’t mean that to me”, but even today there are large numbers of people that take this stuff deadly seriously.

On page 96 of the Satanic Bible, Anton LaVey wrote the following…

“After one’s own birthday, the two major Satanic holidays are Walpurgisnacht (May 1st) and Halloween.”

Most people will never see it, but in dark corners and out of the way places some incredibly sinister things will take place in America on Halloween night.

Just like for the ancient Celts, there are people out there that truly believe that it is a night to commune with the spirits.

If you are a pagan, you probably already know all of this stuff.

If you are not a pagan, you might want to think twice before you do things that could potentially open up doorways to the spirit realm.

  • Pat Cowan

    This is true. Thank you for sharing.

  • Kim

    Halloween can be traced all the way back to the great flood of Noah’s day. this was when the offspring of wicked angels (known as the Nephilim) perished. Hallowen (and its various manifestations) is the day these wicked angels (demons) mourn their dead, [half] human children. it is the only time in history that angels ever procreated.

    • Bill

      Halloween apparently is traced to the end of Atlantis on Oct 31, the day before Atlantis sunk (on Nov 1) but you are correct in that there is an Irish aspect also.

    • TheLulzWarrior

      If they are wicked they wouldn’t mourn each others and if they are some sort of transdimensional entities, salt water isn’t likely to kill them.

      Who knows? If there is a major breach between not-so-different realities, water can pass through and there could have been a few boats in these waters.

  • Greatlicht

    Thank you for important information and I stopped celebrate Halloween at age 14. Because I considered Halloween is just for kids and now i read your article and makes me happy i don’t celebrate Halloween for 9 years.

  • K

    All part of the plan. A plan that with the under 35 crowd, has been very successful. They have been convinced, there is no such thing as evil. People are different, or misunderstood. But evil, never, there is no such thing. How wrong they will one day, realise they are..

    • TheLulzWarrior

      They do believe in evil.

      That evil´s name is White Man and by his mere existence, he is holding down the masses of the world with the sins of Racism and White Privilege for no other reasons than greed and for those delicious evulz.

      • K

        Have not travelled much have you? I have seen evil in all races and colors, and gender.Also I have seen people claiming all manner of faiths, act out in evil ways. You see some have been convinced, there is no evil. You have been convinced, it only comes from one skin color. Equally sad, how easily much of mankind is fooled.

        • TheLulzWarrior

          Was being facetious

          It netherless is what the products of “education” actually believes, just check out “social justice” on tumblnr.

          • K

            Glad to hear that. They are many strange beliefs. There is a much larger group, than I thought possible, that think life is a computer simulation.

  • JasonD

    Great! Next do an article about Krampus.

  • :-/

    Don’t forget to mention that Christmas and Easter also have pagan roots.

  • Tatiana Covington

    There are no such doorways and there is no spirit realm. There is only our natural world.

    The rest is just kids hitting you up for candy (to make huge profits for the candy makers).

    • TheLulzWarrior

      Do not believe the Infidels, there are no such things as other planets or stars, there is only the sun orbiting a flat Earth surrounded by a dome populated by giant glow worms.

      There are no such things as “extraterrestrial”, satellites and UFOs, these are only tricks of the devil to tempt the fidels away from the path of Allah.

    • Jim Davis

      A good costume would be The Flying Spaghetti Monster.

  • one_that_can_see

    Most people that celebrate Halloween have absolutely no idea what they are actually celebrating,….their are people in this country that don’t know who america fought during the war of independence.

  • Tim

    Thank you for this article, Michael. I really appreciate your love for the truth.

    What’s amazing to me is that many Christians celebrate Halloween.

    • TheLulzWarrior

      In the last decades there is no religious aspect left to it, neither paganism or the christianity that was later added to it, all that is left is consumerism and entertainement.

  • Jim Davis

    Halloween used to be a fun holiday where kids would go around the neighborhood in a costume and get free candy. Now the evangelical moonbats try to ruin it for the poor kids. So go ahead kids, this year dress up like Charles Darwin and really piss them off!

    • Jodie Lynn Gaeta

      No, what has really ruined Halloween is the extension of daylight savings time, and the augmentation of parental fears. It used to be that only the really little kids went trick-or-treating before sundown, accompanied by their moms or dads. Today, even the 10-year-olds are out during the day collecting candy. One year a boy of about 9 dressed in a cowboy suit knocked on our door.Poor kid. It was broad daylight, and he was trick-or-treating not with his friends, but with his mom. Yes, it used to be a fun holiday.

      • In several countries lots of adults go around like witches, spooks and devils and make out the bigger lot of participants than kids. For sure there it has nothing to do with getting candy.

        • Jodie Lynn Gaeta

          Then what does it have to do with?

          • The writer said what most think: “. It used to be that only the really little kids went trick-or-treating before sundown”
            Today they may also go around in the day time, but you find more adults doing activities around Halloween. (so that is why I said that.)

  • Undecider

    Christianity is nothing more than a pagan religion with an extreme makeover.

    • You are mixing Christianity and Christendom. In Christendom we may find several denominations which took over lots of local customs to lure people in their religion. But please do know that there are several Christian denominations which kept close to the biblical teachings.

    • apeiron

      These traditions were ‘Christianized’ in large part because…”to the victor go the spoils” …& Christ’s proclamation,…”behold, I am making all things new.” Also, by the time areas became ‘Christianized’, for the VAST majority of common folk, these festivals were mostly just an excuse to party. Paganism had generally ceased being taken seriously for over a century before the advent of the Christian gospel. The word ‘pagan’ is synonymous to our word ‘hick’, it meant country, back water, so not urbane.

  • TheLulzWarrior

    In the last decades there is no religious aspect, neither paganism or the christianity that was later added to it, all that is left is consumerism and entertainement.

    • Cynical Guy42c

      True. Nowadays when people celebrate Halloween, they celebrate scariness, candy, dressing up, and stuff. It’s been such a commercialized occasion that the original meaning is gone.

  • Narragansett Al

    “If you are not a pagan, you might want to think twice before you do
    things that could potentially open up doorways to the spirit realm.”
    What ?? come on! really… Like what? Hope it was tongue in cheek.

  • LJE

    Why did you delete my previous comment? If you object to any criticism in the debate then why bother to have a comment section? I stand by what I said, I know a great deal about this subject and I could list out all the factual errors, but I you’d probably delete that too. Not impressed, although I generally like the content of this site.

  • oreandra

    I dislike religion bashing of any sort. The author needs to go back and read his amendments starting with the first, which regarding religion says”…prohibits the making of any law respecting an establishment of religion, impeding the free exercise of religion…” It says nothing of protecting only Christianity. Paganism isn’t any more evil than any other religion. It is simply a different understanding of the mysteries of the universe. It is however a good point that this is not a Christian holiday.

    These sorts of articles however play into the hands of those who would divide and conquer the masses. There are, contrary to popular belief, many pagans who are patriots and constitutionalists. Sites like this would do well to not alienate allies.

  • Undecider

    A good question may be, other than honoring people from the church hierarchy, just what festivals or “holidays” are actually Christian? It seems as though Christianity is a rewrite or rebranding of everything that preceded it. Just an attempt to corral everyone into a new system of mind control.

  • K2

    Michael…did you just say: ”If you are not a pagan, you might want to think twice before you do
    things that could potentially open up doorways to the spirit realm.” ??

    Asking us not to celebrate it because it had pagan roots and involved human sacrifices is one thing, but saying people not to celebrate it because it will open doorways to the spirit realm is another.

    Y*u really dont think it will happen do you?

  • whatzzhername

    Also, you did not mention but this first was a night when people who practiced w-craft were burnt. Which was a good thing as GOD said in the Old Testament, “Thou shalt not permit to live those that practice, …”