Many scholars theorize that elements of Halloween were borrowed from the ancient pagan Celtic harvest festivals which occurred at high harvest (a time when faeries and spirits could more easily pass into the mortal world). The Celts would hold elaborate festivals to appease these potentially harmful spirits in order to ensure the health and safety of their crops and livestock. October 31 was also the last day of the year on the Old Celtic calendar.
The Christianized celebration of All Hallow’s Eve occurring on October 31 dates back to the 9th century. Many rituals and customs grew from various superstitions associated with departed souls. For instance, bonfires were lit to help guide souls to the other side. The belief that souls could wander the earth until All Saints Day meant Hallow’s Eve was the last opportunity for them to take vengeance on their enemies gave birth to costume-wearing, a way of disguising oneself from potential harm. Trick-or-treating was borne from the practice of going door-to-door collecting “soul cakes” to feed the departed; if you didn’t have one baked and ready to hand out, misfortune would come upon you. Most of the early Celtic pagan rituals as well as the later medieval Christianized variations on the holiday had to do with spirits and dead people, hence the morbid and macabre developments into the spooky modern traditions by which we live today.
Here are some name ideas for Halloween babies:
Autumn – Halloween occurs smack-dab in the middle of autumn.
Candy – a short-form of the name Candice; it also happens to be the primary end-goal of every child on Halloween.
Dulce – the Spanish word for sweets (candy)
Elvira – Elvira, Mistress of the Darkness is a Hollywood pop-culture icon associated with Halloween. The Gothic origin of her name suits the black-clad Elvira perfectly.
Hilda – as in the medieval Brunhilda (bad-ass Queen of the Franks), Brynhildr (the Valkyrie in Norse mythology) or the comic green, warty witch Broom-Hilda, don’t mess with any of these ladies.
Lilith – the meaning of this name is “Screech owl” or “night monster”. Need we say more?
Luna / Selena – both of these names mean “moon”, another symbol strongly associated with All Hallow’s Eve.
Morgan – a Celtic name meaning “Phantom Queen” (sounded spooky to us!)
Raven – the black raven is as much to Halloween as the black cat. Her mysterious appearance is often seen as a spooky omen.
Casper – We know Casper as a friendly ghost, but did you also know this was the name of one of the three Magi who brought the baby Jesus gifts? Casper brought the frankincense to the BYOF baby shower.
Corbin – originated from an Anglo-Norman nickname meaning “raven, crow”.
Corey – is a Scottish-Gaelic name meaning “cauldron” (where one might find the witch’s brew).
Ignacio – Spanish for fire.
Jack-o’-lantern – the pumpkin with a creepy carved face illuminated by a candle. Probably originally meant to scare the goblins away from one’s home.
Santos / Santino – meaning “saint” and “little saint” respectively. All Hallow’s Eve essentially means the evening before Day of the Saints.
Read more about each of these names. Some of their histories might surprise you…