Halloween, or All Hallows’ Eve, is a holiday that has come to be celebrated by people dressing up in all manner of costumes, carving pumpkins, and satiating sugar cravings. But the holiday also represents the start of the new year for Wiccans, who believe it to be the time of year when boundaries between the real and supernatural worlds are thinnest. For this reason, Halloween is also believed to be the most potent time for fortune-telling and making significant prophecies about the coming future.

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Halloween has changed drastically since its Druidic origins in Ireland, the original home of this mystical holiday. How people celebrate Halloween has shifted according to technology, the size of cities, and attitudes about celebrating a holiday as a community.

The origin of Halloween was religious, a day designated by the ancient Irish for celebrating and communicating with visiting spirits. It changed shape when Catholic and Christian churches attempted to convert these people to their faiths. Modern celebrations of Halloween have incorporated aspects of these and other traditions. It’s now a day of lighting candles in pumpkins (and turnips) to keep ghosts away, but also perhaps gathering treats from decorated cars in a church parking lot. A child would be more likely to mention a talking skeleton than a sacred bonfire when discussing the origin of Halloween.