Halloween is a fast-growing global commercial phenomenon, why?


Gordon Martin

Most people think of Halloween as a day of trick or treating, costume parties, pumpkin decorations and a lot of sweets. At this time of the year, people end up spending excessively, even reverting to online loans because they simply love to party. Even though people may enjoy celebrating, not many know about the history and how it became one of the most popular celebrations of the year. Turns out, the history of Halloween goes way back and is really quite scary! Halloween, the origins and the global phenomenon it is today is a really interesting read.

So, we all know that Halloween is celebrated on the 31st of October every year but what you probably might not know is that the word Halloween actually means "hallowed evening" and was initially known to the early celebrators as "All Hallows' Eve". This was meant to pay respect to the saints as the word "hallows" literally translates to saints. Halloween is also known by other names in different cultures for example in Mexico, it is called "Dia de Muertos" - the day of the dead when the living make altars to invite the spirits, families go to cemeteries, decorate the tombs of their loved ones and prepare traditional foods and decorations.

Why Halloween is celebrated on the 31st of October?

The origins of Halloween can be traced back some 2000 years when the Celts, who mainly lived in Ireland celebrated the "festival of Samhain". It represented a critical time of the year when the seasons altered i.e. summer ended and the long dark winter began. It was believed that at this time of the year, the fine line between the physical world and the afterlife became extremely thin, allowing the ghosts to return to earth and making it possible for people to interact with the dead. The Celts believed that the return of the ghosts would result in trouble with the crops and also make it easier for their priests to predict the future. These beliefs were a source of comfort and distraction for the Celts in a time marking the start of harsh, dark and long winters. The belief about this world and the next coming close around this time of the year is also held in some other cultures, for example the Jewish community observe "Yom Kippur" in October by going to the synagogue and praying for forgiveness for their family and friends who have passed away.

Haunted house

The history of Halloween celebrations

The initial holiday of "All Hallows' Eve" consisted of a lot rituals to connect with spirits and deities as the Celts were idol worshippers. While there is not much recorded evidence, it is believed that the Celts wore costumes, prepared special feasts and created lanterns by hollowing out large fruits, paving the path for the tradition of carved pumpkin lights. Eventually, Christianity spread and the pagan traditions of the holiday were decreased and the basic activities evolved into a part of pop culture. The earlier rituals evolved into carefree fun and games. The concept of connecting with the deceased was replaced with a fortune telling game on All Hallows Eve known as apple bobbing where apples would represent a woman's suitors and whichever apple she ended up picking, would represent her future spouse. People would also engage in mirror-gazing to catch a glimpse of what their future would look like. Moreover, there is also evidence of something similar to fortune cookies being given out. People would use milk to write on pieces of paper which would then be folded and put in walnut shells which would be heated over fire, causing the milk to go brown and the message to become visible on the paper. By the early 1900's Halloween had become a secular community celebration with trick or treating and Halloween parties as the main source of entertainment.

Top scary outfits

  • Ghost
  • Witch
  • Vampire
  • Monster
  • Superhero
  • Cat
  • Pumpkin

The history of Trick or Treating and Halloween costumes

During the earlier times, on All Hallows Eve, children would go door to door asking for "soul cakes" and adults would wear saint costumes and recite verses. The concept of asking for soul cakes can actually be traced back to "All Souls' Day" parades in England where the poor would beg for food and people would give them biscuit like "soul cakes". As a thank you gesture, the recipients would offer to pray for the deceased relatives of the donors. Eventually, the idea of kids going door to door on Halloween asking for soul cakes evolved into them going door to door asking for sweets i.e. trick or treating. As far as Halloween costumes are concerned, initially the idea of these costumes was to pay tribute to the saints. That tradition died down until young Irish and Scottish pranksters decided to wear spooky garbs to scare their neighbours. Thus, the initial saint costumes evolved into creative, spooky or even funny costumes which could range from witches, zombies, and vampires to popular television characters from films and TV shows.

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Halloween in the UK

Halloween has definitely become a popular day in the UK and it is one that is fast-growing. Social media goes into a frenzy at this time of the year. Online, you will find pictures of people casually showing off their creative costumes and pumpkin-carving skills, spooky craft and cooking ideas, snap shots of children in fancy dress etc. Basically, if you're not partaking in the celebrations, you're being a spoil sport! This year we will once again celebrate Halloween on 31st of October, enjoying our favourite treats, decorations and amusing costumes. Families will head to pumpkin patches and farms to get their own, shops and restaurants will use Halloween themed decorations and deals, foodies will cook pumpkin dishes, kids will dress up in creative costumes, your local coffee shops will advertise their pumpkin spice latte and the festive spirit of Halloween will be observed all around.

Dogs dressed as ghosts

Financial considerations when celebrating Halloween

What have you decided to dress up as this year? A vampire? A zombie? We know these costumes do not come for free and entertainment for Halloween can start to become expensive if you're not careful. You can follow our guide provided below to help you celebrate Halloween on a budget. Whether you're organising a Halloween party for work or family, this guide should give you tips regarding how to celebrate on a budget.

Have you ever gone shopping for Halloween costumes and decorations for parties and ended up spending a bit too much? Have you also noticed that in those particular instances you often end up coming home with a whole bunch of unnecessary purchases that you don't really need? Yeah, that is very common when we don't create a budget for ourselves and plan ahead before spending. If you're the thrifty type, you've probably already got an idea of what budgeting is all about, but if not, we've got you covered. Being thrifty can help you avoid payday loans to meet a cash flow crisis.

Once you have a budget, you will realize that there are various places where you can save money by cutting unnecessary expenditures. The first thing that comes to mind when throwing a Halloween party is where exactly it is going to take place. A venue can be really pricey so you can save a lot of money by finding a free venue or ensuring you get one at a discounted price. If you can, look for free options which include using your own space or using a family or friend's space. If those options are not viable, you still have the option of finding a restaurant or bar that will allow you to use their space in exchange for buying a certain amount of drinks at the bar or pre-booking meals. However, if you would much rather book a paid venue, you need to prepare by doing a lot of research to find the best deal. Remember that venues tend to be booked far in advance so the earlier you book, the better. There are also many venue finding services that can be used to help you find a venue at no charge. Consider alternative and quirky venues like a gallery or museum, swimming pool or even a park can also be used. Moreover, instead of hiring a professional photographer, you can utilise your smart phones to make videos or take pictures to capture the memorable costumes and moments.

Food is one of the main highlights of most events as everybody expects something to nibble on. There are several ways in which you can avoid spending too much on food for your Halloween celebrations. Some of you might not want to go through the trouble of preparing food altogether, in that case, it is best to celebrate at a restaurant. Take a deposit from each of your guests to secure their seats and you then have to just focus on looking fabulous! However, some say "nothing can beat a home cooked meal". This is especially true when you look at the financial implications of eating out or catering. If your celebration is relatively small and intimate, you can also arrange a one dish party, sharing the responsibility for food and taking the physical and financial burden of preparing food for an event off of one person's shoulders.

Entertainment for a Halloween event can really run a bill if you don't plan properly. Remember, you may have a lot of resources around you that can be used entertain your guests. For a Halloween party, a good set of guests, drinks and music should be more than enough to keep them entertained. However, you can even go for a series of events lined up. If you have a bubbly personality, instead of spending money on hiring someone you could simply host yourself or get friends or family who are good communicators and confident public speakers to host as well. Nevertheless, if having external entertainment is important for you, try searching for up-and-coming entertainers online on social media or entertainment websites as they will charge less.

These days you can use the internet to learn how to do pretty much anything yourself, all you have to do is go online and watch some videos or read some blogs. That's going to be very useful when it comes to decorating for Halloween as it means there is no need to pay a decorator to help you out. You can customise not only your household and party decor, cups, plates and invitations but also your costume at a low cost. If you are not the DIY type, get your creative friends or arts and crafts kids to help out. On the other hand, if you really cannot be bothered to do all that, be sure to check a pound shop or online vendors. Always remember that when things seem inexpensive, it's easy to impulsively pick more than you need.


We hope this post helped you understand the origins and history of Halloween a little better and how it evolved into the commercial celebration that it is today and also reminded you that there is no need to spend excessively in order to have a good time. We hope that you have a wonderful Halloween this year and plan for it even more smartly than you did last year. Share this post with your friends to make them more informed and help them prepare for this popular day of the year!

Let us know your tips for a great Halloween that avoids things like resorting to online loans. If you want to know more about how to budget and manage your money to be able to spend on seasonal events like Halloween, then the check out the website of the Money Advice Service.

Learn how to budget and set a savings goal so that events such as Halloween are not a cash flow shock leading to online loans.