Dunking for Apples
The custom of dunking for apples originated during Samhain. The first person to bite an apple would be the first to marry in the coming year. Lovers carried out a similar tradition in the Victorian era: Together they would bite into a suspended donut with their hands tied behind their backs!
Jack-O-Lanterns come from an ancient Irish and British tradition that involved placing a lit candle inside a hollowed-out pumpkin or turnip in order to scare spirits away.
The name - for an illuminated pumpkin - has its origins in Celtic folklore. According to legend, a blacksmith named Jack made a pact with the Devil: His soul for mastery of his trade. In an attempt to save Jack, a saint named Peter offered Jack three wishes, hoping Jack would choose wisely and save his soul.
Three traditional Halloween: Dunking for Apples, Jack-O-Lanterns, and Trick
Instead Jack used the wishes to outsmart the Devil, angering both God and the Devil himself. So when Jack died, neither God nor the Devil wanted his soul. Dejected, Jack scooped up some burning coals and placed them in a hollowed-out turnip.
Legend has it that Jack still carries his "lantern," lighting the way as he roams the earth endlessly.Pyramids
Dressing up in costumes and "trick-or-treating" is based on a number of Irish and European customs. In England, boys and girls wore each other's outfits and begged door-to-door for "soulcakes."
During pagan times, German people paid taxes at the end of autumn; in Scotland, this custom was transformed into lighthearted door-to-door begging called "guising."
In Ireland, groups of Irish farmers in disguise traveled from house to house asking for food for their town or village. Those who gave generously received good wishes for prosperity; those who were tight-fisted were cursed and threatened.
This custom, brought over to the U.S. by Irish immigrants during the potato famine of the mid-1800s, continues as modern-day "trick-or-treating."