Halloween is a holiday celebrated each year on October 31 with its origins in the ancient Celtic festival of Samhain when people would light bonfires and wear costumes to scare away ghosts and evil spirits. In the eighth century, Pope Gregory III designated November 1 as a time to honour all saints and soon the festival of All Saints Day came to include some of the traditions of Samhain. The evening before was known as All Hallows Eve, and later Halloween. Eventually, Halloween became a day of activities like trick-or-treating, carving jack-o-lanterns out of pumpkins, festive gatherings, and wearing costumes. Find the New Statesman’s best Halloween content here.