The night of October 31st is called Hallowe’en or Halloweven, because it is the night before the ancient church festival of All Saints or All Hallows. The people of England and Scotland, where this festival was celebrated, used to be very superstitious, and because this Halloweven was a watch night, or vigil, the belief grew up among them that it was a night when spirits were abroad. They thought that the bad spirits, the witches, goblins, hobgoblins, and ghosts, went about the earth playing all kinds of mischievous pranks, and that the good fairies came out to baffle these bad spirits and to pretect men from them.
Because Hallowe’en was the night of spirits, the people believed that spells, charms and witchcraft were more powerful then; and so certain old customs were practiced then which have ever since been associated with Hallowe’en. Some of them are almost unknown to us, but others, such as bobbing for apples and telling fortunes are enjoyd by the boys and girls of today. And although the spirirts are no longer abroad on that night, it is still the time of pranks and mischief.