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  • Writer's pictureMARY REESE SULLIVAN '26

The Spookiest Halloween Origins

Since All-Hallows Eve is around the corner, have you ever wondered where the legends of ghosts and goblins come from? Here are some bone chilling details on the origins of myths. We must also understand the folktales that were passed from generation to generation to create our beloved holiday and traditions as a SUA community. Will the ghosts of the Administrative building walk the halls of SUA this Halloween?

All-Hallows Eve

One of the world’s most famous holidays dates back to the traditional night of Samhain in the Celtic religion. The Samhain festival is a pagan celebration that would be performed before All Saints Day, so that a healthy harvest would ensue and bring in “the dark half of the year.” Followers of this religion believe that the spirits are connected to earth, therefore allowing for humans and spirits to communicate.


These iconic greens, dressed in black, and flying on brooms with a pointy hat, are the result of humans' belief of witches. However, before the knowledge of science, witches were blamed for death, weather, and misfortune that happened to small villages. In Europe many women were put to death due to accusations of witchcraft, but half of these victims were men and young children. Then, the Brothers Grimm and Hans Christen Anderson used information from the witch trials and had a terrifying twist to the witches that we know today.


In 1816, author Mary Shelley, her husband, and their friend, were stuck indoors due to weather. To pass the time, the trio started telling ghost stories and that is where Shelley got her idea for Frankenstein. In fact, the monster in the novel states: "Adam of your labors,"referring to the Bible in which Adam was the first man and the monster was the first of its kind. Furthermore, Frankenstein was the doctor that created the monster and many people get this myth confused.

“Stingy Jack”

Carving pumpkins, a well-known tradition that SUA girls do in gym class with JP, originally came to the United States from Ireland. In Ireland, they carved pumpkins out of turnips and potatoes due to the infamous legend “Stingy Jack.” This legend is about how Stingy Jack tricked the devil more than once. The first time he did not want to pay for his drink with the devil, so he convinced the devil to turn himself into a coin. Jack kept the money and the devil next to a silver coin, so the devil could not turn himself back. Jack freed the devil, but told the devil that Jack must not be bothered by the devil dead or alive. The second time, Jack had the devil climb up a tree and carved a cross on the tree, so the devil could not come down. Jack said that he would let the devil come down if he promised that the devil would not bother Jack for another ten years. The Irishmen adopted this to keep the devil and evil spirits away from their homes.


As we know, ghost stories have been around for thousands of years as they have created thousands of halloween characters, films, books, and television series. Furthermore, in the SUA administration building, rumors of ghosts have haunted the halls and basement of the building. These rumors and ideas are the building blocks of our Halloween enjoyment and celebration. So what is a ghost? The concept of ghosts is based on the idea of spirits coming back to haunt the living. “A rich subset of these tales involve historical figures ranging from queens and politicians to writers and gangsters, many of whom died early, violent or mysterious deaths'' (“History of Ghost Stories,” 2019). Nevertheless, the dead come back and use their supernatural powers to taunt others or do the devils work.

So remember to carve a cross into your pumpkin when you carve them with JP to keep the devil away. When walking to Keller and you hear sounds from the administration building is it the ghost or the SUA Palooza? Also, this Halloween, SUA will be able to dress up and trick or treat our halls during 5th bell. What will you be? A witch? Frankenstein?


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