Many enjoy Halloween by dressing up in costumes. But how did October 31st become the spookiest day of the year, and why?

Halloween originated from Samhain, a Celtic New Year’s Day celebrated on November 1. It has been thought to be around for more than 2,000 years. But about a thousand years ago, the Catholic Church changed the name to All Saints’ Day, also called All Hallows’ Day. The night before that, which is on October 31st, was called All Hallows’ Eve. It was then shortened to Halloween. People would leave food out for any ghosts that might be out that night. But how did that change to dressing up and going trick-or-treating? One author says that trick-or-treating is a relatively new ritual that may have been influenced by the Christmas tradition of belsnickling. It’s practiced in the eastern United States and Canada, where groups of costumed entertainers would visit homes in exchange for food and drink.

It’s fun to scare each other on Halloween. Even a little bit, as the days become shorter and the nights grow longer.