Halloween has ancient origins that are embedded in tradition and the Halloween parade is one of the many celebrations associated with this holiday. Halloween parades today represent an opportunity for people to show off their Halloween costumes and even compete for prizes. However, this fun part of modern-day Halloween tradition actually began thousands of years ago, with the intent of warding away malevolent spirits.
The tradition of having a Halloween parade can be traced back to the earliest origins of Halloween. Halloween actually began as the pagan festival Samhain, which was observed thousands of years ago with the ancient Celts who occupied what was is now Ireland, the United Kingdom, and northern France. Samhain represented a time when human spirits were supposed to come to earth to wreak havoc on human souls. Each year on Samhain, the Celts dressed up in gruesome animal-like costumes that were usually made from animal heads and skins and they would parade about their communities on Samhain. These precursors to the modern day Halloween parade were
intended to make a great deal of noise. The belief was that by creating a ruckus, they could drive the souls of the dead away and remain safe from harm. They wore costumes because the disguises would make it impossible for the malevolent spirits to tell who was human and who was a spirit. As time went by, Samhain came to be known as All Hallows Eve and eventually into what we now know as Halloween. While the name of the holiday has changed over thousands of years, much of the beliefs and customs associated with this holiday have remained constant. For example, the tradition of a costumed Halloween parade began with the gruesome animal costumes worn on Samhain by the ancient Celts to ward away evil spirits. As the holiday evolved into All Hallows Eve with the spread of Christianity, the Halloween parade of costumes remained a tradition, but the types of costumes evolved. During the days that Halloween was referred to as All Hallows Eve, the most common costumes visible in Halloween parades were saint, devil, and angel disguises. As the holiday further transitioned into what we now know of as Halloween, the tradition of the Halloween parade remained the same, but with a greater variety of costumes. The Halloween parade today is still very much a big thing. Many schoolchildren enjoy participating in costume contest parades at school and in their social clubs and organizations. In today’s Halloween parades, you are likely to see costumes similar to those worn by Samhain and All Hallows Eve participants throughout history. However, you are also likely to see costumes of superheroes, movie starts, cartoon characters, vampires, and many
other disguises. Halloween parades aren’t just for children. Adults and children alike enjoy participating in Halloween parades each year. For example, the New York Village Halloween Parade is held each year, with about two million participants. . This is the largest public Halloween parade in America, and has been designated as one of the greatest events on earth by festivals international.