Many of the ancient people of Europe marked the end of harvest season and the beginning of winter by celebrating a holiday in late autumn. The most important of this holiday that influence later Halloween customs was Samhain, a holiday observed by the ancient Celts. A tribal people who inhabited most of western and central Europe in the first millenium BC. Among the Celts, Samhain marked the end of year and the beginning of the next. It was one of 4 Celtic holidays linked to important transition in the annual cycle of season.
Samhain began at sundown on October 31th and extended into following day. According to the Celts, pagan religion, known as Druidism, the spirit of those who has had died in the preceding year roamed the earth on samhain evening, the Celts sough toward of these spirits of offering of food and drinks. The celts also built bonfire at sacred hilltop sites and formed rituals, often involving human and animal sacrifies, to honour druid duties.
In Britain, Romans blended local Samhain customs with their own pagan harvest festival honoring pomona, goddess of fruit trees. Some scholars harvest suggested that the game of bobbing for apples derives from this association of the holiday with fruit.
In British folklore, small magical beings known as fairies become associated with Halloween mischief. The Jack O’Lantern, originally carved from large turnip rather than pumpkin, originated in Medieval Scotland. Various methods of preceding the future, especially concerning matters of romance and marriage, were also prominent features of Halloween throughout the British Isles.
Between the 15th and 117th centuries, Europe was seized by historical fear of switches, leading to persecution of thousand of innocent women. Witches were thought to ride flying a brooms and assume the form of black cats. These images of witches soon joined European superstition as symbols of Halloween.