Throwback Thursday – Why Halloween fascinates us

Why do we find Halloween so fascinating? Superstitions invoke our emotional need for spiritual satisfaction. Something about the month of October entices us to seek haunts of the past. Throwback Thursday is a direct invitation to step back into the historic moments these legends were born. 

The fact of the matter is, thousand-year-old ghost stories, black cat curses, and tales of witchcraft during full moons were all born of a truth somewhere. Bringing these mysteries from another time back to life is a temptation that forever burns in the nostalgic embers of our mind. Let’s revisit the origins of All Hallows Eve as we show images of local celebrations over the past century.

Two thousand years ago, the ancient Celts celebrated the first days of dark, cold winter, associated with death. It was the one night of the year where the line between the mortal and spiritual worlds blurred, bringing ghosts of their ancestors to visit. Spirits from another world invoked the curiosities of fortune telling, where the dead could help the living predict their futures. 

By the year 1000, the Catholic Church named November 2nd as All Souls Day, with celebrations dressed as angels and devils with large bonfires. Also called All Hallows, thus All Hallows Eve was born.

American colonists brought the holiday to their new country, with days of mischief making and ghost stories around the harvest fires. Dressing in costume and walking door-to-door asking for food and money became the norm, and trick or treating was born. To prevent being recognized by ghosts if they left their homes during All Hallows Eve, people dressed in costume. 

By the turn of the 20th century, community Halloween parties kept children away from dangerous pranks. Parents prevented neighborhood tricks by providing treats to curious children. Entertainment in radio, TV, and movies guaranteed a hit with anything spine-tingling or with paranormal monsters of myth like Dracula or Frankenstein. Bowling Green’s own John Carpenter put us on the map with his Halloween films.

There are plenty of true stories that put southern Kentucky on the supernatural scene. Have you heard them?