Halloween's roots lie in the ancient Celtic festival of Samhain, which was celebrated in the British Isles on a full moon around November 1st. Samhain was the most important of the Celtic fire festivals, or holy days, because it was the start of the New Year. The harvest had ended, the last crops had been picked, and a chill was in the air. The dark half of the year was beginning. On the night of Samhain, the Celts believed that the souls of the dead were restless, on the move, and could cross over into the world of the living.
In his book The Pagan Mysteries of Halloween, Jean Markale describes Samhain (pronounced "sow-en") as an important festival that served to unite the tribe. To commemorate the New Year, fires all over the Celtic world were extinguished the night of Samhain, then relit from ceremonial blazes kindled by Druids, the religious leaders of the pre-Christian Celts. Animals were slaughtered and sacrificed to Celtic deities.
在基恩·马卡尔（Jean Makale）的《异教神秘万圣节》（The Pagan Mysteries of Halloween）一书中提到：属阴节（发音“sow-en”）是促使部落团结的重要节日。为了纪念新年，在属阴节的晚上，凯尔特人会把火全都熄灭，然后，由德鲁伊特（Druids，古代凯尔特人的祭祀）点燃仪式之火，并以其为火种重新点燃各个部落的篝火。在这一天，凯尔特人还会宰杀牲畜，祭祀神灵。
"In marking the onset of winter, Samhain was closely associated with darkness and the supernatural," adds Nicholas Rogers, a York University history professor, in Halloween: From Pagan Ritual to Party Night. "The festival was closely related with prophecy and story-telling." It was a time out of time, "charged with a peculiar preternatural energy."
“属阴节代表着冬季的开始，有很强烈的黑暗和超自然意味。”约克大学历史教授尼古拉斯·罗杰斯（Nicholas Rogers）在《万圣节：从异教节日到派对之夜》（Halloween: From Pagan Ritual to Party Night）一书中补充道。“属阴节与占卜和传说故事联系紧密，”是超脱时间的时间，“充满了古怪的超自然的力量。”
The old ways began to change with foreign influence some two millennia ago. The Romans invaded England in the first century A.D., and their festival for Pomona (the goddess of fruits and trees) may have added light-hearted traditions such as apple bobbing to Samhain. Later, the Celts converted to Christianity, a process that began in England in the 4th century and in Ireland (with the arrival of St. Patrick) in the 5th century A.D. The Christian Church could not utterly abolish the Samhain celebration, but ultimately they co-opted it, intentionally or otherwise, with two alterations of the Catholic calendar.
First, Pope Gregory IV (827-844 A.D.) changed the date of a festival honoring Christian saints to November 1 and called it the Feast of All Saints. The celebration of All Saints' Day became known as All Hallow Mass or Hallowmas in England. The night of October 31 became All Hallows Eve.
Then, in 998, the French monastic order of Cluny initiated a mass for the souls of the Christian dead, later moved to the day after All Saints Day. The new feast day of All Souls held further resonance for Celts accustomed to Samhain, a time so linked to the spirits of the dead. By the end of the twelfth century, the festivals of All Saints and All Souls (together called Hallowtide in Great Britain) were well-established highlights of the Christian year. And Hallows Eve, which preceded them, had effectively supplanted Samhain, while retaining its aura of eerie mystery. The beliefs that spirits were on the loose and that communication was possible between this world and the underworld survived in All Hallows Eve, as did a few rituals of the Celtic festival, like fire rites and divination.
The church masses of Hallowtide served as insurance against hauntings. As night fell and All Souls' Day arrived, "bells were rung for the souls in purgatory," writes Rogers. Across Catholic Europe, "food was laid out for the dead, whose souls were expected to return to their former abodes on All Souls' Day," a practice we see today in Mexico's Day of the Dead.
In England and elsewhere, it was a custom for the rich to give out food in return for prayers, a practice called "souling." "Soul cakes" (square biscuits with currants) were baked and given to relatives, poor neighbors or beggars on All Souls' Day. In return, the recipients promised to pray for the dead relatives of the donors. While "soulers" went door to door during Hallowtide, less solemn revelers also took to the streets.
Costumed folk began a "season of misrule" full of "disguisings, masks and mummeries." They sang, danced, drank, rode hobbyhorses, cross-dressed and impersonated officials, inverting the established order. Hallowtide had a little of the atmosphere of Carnival or Mardi Gras. Celebrants demanded food, ale, and coins from their neighbors and mocked those who wouldn't comply. The use of masks on Hallows Eve may have started with these merrymakers; and mummers and soulers asking for donations may have been a precedent for trick-or-treating.
乔装打扮的人们在“没人管的万圣季”唱歌，跳舞，喝酒，骑竹马，穿着异性服装，假扮公职人员，挑战既定秩序。万圣季的气氛有一点像嘉年华或忏悔星期二的狂欢节。参加庆典的人向他们的邻居索要食物，麦芽啤酒和钱，并对那些小气的人大加揶揄。在万圣节前夜头戴面具的习俗可能就起源于这些恶作剧的人们，而“不给钱就捣蛋”（trick or treat）的说法，可能正是起源于索灵者向人讨要馈赠的行为。
Hallowmas fell out of favor in England during the Protestant Reformation of the 16th century, and All Souls' Day was eliminated from the calendar. Yet All Hallows Eve continued as a time of supernatural intensity and became popularly known as Halloween in the 18th Century. In Ireland and Scotland, "Halloween was largely untouched by the Protestant Reformation," writes Rogers. "In the Scottish highlands, hallow fires blazed from cairns and hilltops. In some areas, there were torchlight processions around the fields to ensure their fertility or to ward off evil spirits and witches... many of these customs recalled the fire rituals of Samhain that were to be found in the ancient Celtic sagas."
Mummery and begging for treats on Halloween continued. In Scottish villages "it was not the deceased themselves who returned but young people who personified the spirits of the dead by hiding their faces under masks and wearing long white robes or grotesque costumes made from straw... they went in search of treats, treats that, of course, represented the offerings made to the deceased," writes Markale, author of The Pagan Mysteries of Halloween. He adds that some carried hollowed-out turnips with a candle inside, representing a wandering spirit. These were called "jack 'o' lanterns" after an Irish legend about Jack, a man unwelcome in both heaven or hell, who was doomed to wander the earth eternally.
传说很久以前在爱尔兰有一个被称为“吝啬鬼杰克（Stingy Jack）”的人，有一天，他请撒旦与他一起喝酒，吝啬鬼杰克当然不愿意付钱，于是他说服撒旦变成钱币以付他们的酒钱。当撒旦变成钱币的时候，杰克就把它放在了衣袋里，而在他衣袋边上有一个银十字架，这使撒旦无法变回原样。撒旦只好和杰克约法三章，答应杰克一年内都不会再找他麻烦，而且当杰克死后也不会带走他的灵魂，这样才得已被释放。第二年，杰克又如法戏弄了撒旦一次，这一次他把撒旦骗上了一棵果树去摘果子，当撒旦上树后，杰克偷偷地在树上刻了一个十字架的形状，于是撒旦只好又答应以后的十年都不会再找杰克的麻烦。不久，杰克死了，根据惯例，上帝是不会允许像杰克这样又坏又吝啬的人上天堂的，而撒旦又答应过不带走他的灵魂，因此也不会让他下地狱。撒旦只好把他送进无穷的黑暗中，只给他一块燃烧的煤碳以照明，杰克把这块煤碳放进镂空的芜菁（又叫盘菜）中，从此游荡在人间。后来，人们把提着灯笼的杰克称作“秉灯杰克（Jack of the Lantern）”，最后简称为“杰克灯（Jack-O-Lantern）”，而人们在雕刻杰克灯的时候，因为南瓜比芜菁更常见，所以原来的芜菁也慢慢被镂空的南瓜所替代，这就是杰克灯的由来。）
Halloween was associated with divinatory rituals, omens that foretold marriages or deaths, and premonitory dreams. Families and young woman enjoyed fortunetelling games in the parlor. Meanwhile, outside in the dark night, high-spirited boys were on the loose. Many of the pranks were "threshold tricks," wherein "doors were nailed shut, windows broken, gates taken off hinges and fences de-picketed," according to Mark Alice Durant in Dressed for Thrills. The pranksters understood that Halloween "was a night of a different order," adds Durant.
说起万圣节，总脱不开占卜仪式，那些婚丧嫁娶或者梦的预兆。小孩子和年轻女子在客厅津津有味的玩着算命游戏。精力旺盛的男孩子们此刻正在黑夜中到处惹是生非，他们的很多恶作剧都有些过分了。“钉死你的门，砸烂你窗户，拽下你的铰链，拔起你的篱笆。”马克·艾里斯·杜兰特在《穿好衣服去冒险》（Dressed for Thrills）中这么写道。这些恶作剧者知道，在万圣节，“这个晚上没有规矩”。
In North America, Halloween began to arrive in force in the 1840s. Rural immigrants from Ireland flooded into America and Canada because of the Great Potato Famine and brought Halloween customs from their homeland. A steady stream of Scots also carried Celtic traditions to the New World. The restless energy of the "mischief night" found expression in new surroundings: rowdy boys knocked down fences, tipped over outhouses, and wreaked other havoc. And families upgraded a harmless custom, thanks to the new land's plant life, making jack 'o' lanterns out of pumpkins, easily carved into large, grinning demonic faces.
By the late 1800s in North America, Halloween had developed into a family festival full of parties, seasonal foods (pumpkins, maize and apples) and costumes. Ghost stories were told, contests were held, and games were played. Masks for Halloween were on sale by the late 19th century. Retailers advertised candies and nuts for the night. Black cats and bats became Halloween motifs, apparently because of the influence of Edgar Allen Poe and gothic writers.
到了19世纪末期，在北美地区，万圣节已经变成一个家庭节日。充满了派对，时令食物和奇装异服的元素。人们在这一天讲鬼故事，举办比赛，做游戏。万圣节面具在19世纪后期开始作为商品出售。零售商也开始给万圣节糖果做广告。黑猫和蝙蝠成为万圣节的代表性图案，这显然受到了爱伦坡（Edgar Allen Poe）等哥特风作家的影响。
Halloween lost its religious overtones and changed into a secular, community-oriented celebration. It was no longer regarded as primarily an Irish or Scottish festival, and became a fixture in the North American calendar. Such acceptance did not diminish the pranks committed by young males that night, who now saw Halloween as their best opportunity to let loose. By the 1920s, there was public concern about how wild the night was getting. Mischief often veered into vandalism. Towns and clubs began to organize "safe" Halloween events -- carnivals, dances and street fairs -- to keep youngsters occupied.
The Halloween decorations of the time were similar to those of today: "Black cats, bats, Jack 'o' Lanterns, ghosts and witches predominate. Autumn leaves, cornstalks, fruits and vegetables carry the idea of a harvest celebration. Orange and black crepe paper are indispensable in decorating," observes an instructional booklet from Boston. Costumes were typically homemade, often from sacks, old clothes, soot and shoe polish. Commercial costume companies began to sell outfits based on celebrities like Charlie Chaplin, Mae West, Mickey Mouse and Dick Tracy.
那时候流行的万圣节装饰和现在相差无几：“黑猫，蝙蝠，杰克灯，鬼怪，女巫是出现最多的万圣节形象。秋叶，玉米杆，水果和蔬菜寓意着丰收的欢庆。橘色和黑色的绉纸是不可或缺的装饰。”这是我从波士顿的一本教学小册子上看来的。万圣节服装一般是自家缝制的，原材料常常是麻袋，旧衣服，烟煤灰和鞋油。商业制衣公司也开始出售万圣节主题的成衣，形象包括卓别林（ Charlie Chaplin），梅·韦斯特（Mae West），米老鼠（Mickey Mouse），还有迪克·特雷西（Dick Tracy）。
While the practice of begging for, or demanding, food on Hallows Eve was centuries old, the words "trick or treat" apparently came into use in the 1930s. The earliest known appearance of the phrase in print was in an American Home article written by Doris Hudson Moss in 1939, according to author David Skal (Death Makes a Holiday) and others. Rogers writes, "Trick-or-treating radically altered the dynamics of festive license without eliminating its masking or playful features." The holiday became a boon for food manufacturers and retailers.
尽管在万圣节前夜乞求，或是索要食物的习俗已经有几百年，但“不给糖就捣蛋”的说辞是从20世纪30年代才出现的。作家大卫·斯卡尔 （David Skal，著有《死后才放假》(Death Makes a Holiday)等）告诉我们，“不给糖就捣蛋”这一说法，有记载的最早记录见于多丽丝·哈德逊·莫斯（Doris Hudson Moss）1939年发表在《美国大家庭》中的一篇文章。“不给糖就捣蛋，彻底改变了万圣节恶作剧恣意妄为的情况，却丝毫无损节日假面掩饰，戏谑玩闹的特征。”不仅如此，食物制造商和零售商也因此能在万圣节大赚一笔。
During the 1960s and '70s, Halloween became a thoroughly secular, consumer-oriented event. The booming plastics industry made it possible to cheaply sell realistic masks, noses, fangs and props. Middle-class parents bought full Halloween getups at mass-market stores for the family. For children, the main point of Halloween became to dress up and collect as much tasty candy as possible. There wasn't much sense of actually dealing out nasty "tricks" to people who didn't offer sufficient goodies, but many boys harassed friends, neighbors and random victims with armaments like eggs, toilet paper and shaving cream.
Today's Halloween has become popular in many places around the world. In America, suburban homes have bigger and spookier lawn displays each year. Office cubicles are festooned with orange and black crepe paper and bowls of candy. Hundreds of thousands show up at work in full Halloween garb. Costume parties for adults are commonplace. "Haunted houses" are popular seasonal attractions. The merchandising for the holiday is enormous, second only to that of Christmas. Halloween is big business, generating billons of dollars in sales; Hallows Eve has been possessed by Hollywood and Walmart.
The Halloween of this century has pretty much lost its uncanny power, unless one is four years old and terrified of an uncle dressed as Count Dracula. There aren't many Americans now who believe that spirits are on the loose the night of October 31. Although death is the central theme of Halloween, celebrants deal with the grim reaper only on a playful level. Yet perhaps this somehow helps children, and us, cope with the most fearful realities of life.
现在的万圣节，差不多已经失去了过去的种种神秘色彩（对于鬼神的敬畏之情，再难见到）。除非你是一个四岁的小娃娃，才会被打扮成德库拉伯爵（ Count Dracula，吸血鬼）的大叔给吓到。没有几个美国人还会相信，10月31日晚上会有幽灵出没。尽管死亡是万圣节的中心主题，但参加欢庆的人们都抱着一种戏谑的态度来面对死神。也许正因为如此，孩子们，还有我们，才能如此轻松的面对生命中最可怕的事实——死亡。
For adults, it may be that Halloween is evolving into a masquerade event like Mardi Gras in New Orleans and Carnival in other countries. These are "inversion rituals," in which ordinary people can break the rules, flout convention, and mock authority for a few days, until the normal social order reasserts itself. Halloween no longer retains the sense of awe and wonder associated with Hallows Eve and Samhain in the past, yet it remains an intriguing, still-evolving ritual that fuses a wealth of folk beliefs and cultural traditions.