The Great Pumpkin: The UCLA history of Halloween

Published: November 2, 2015

Seven out of 10 Americans will be celebrating Halloween this Saturday, spending just under $7 billion on candy, decorations, costumes and greeting cards, with $350 million of this bonanza going toward the purchase of pet costumes, according to a survey by the National Federation of Retailers.

Halloween has gone big-time in the U.S., but where exactly does the holiday hail from, and why is there such a strong supernatural element to it? Some argue that Halloween’s origins stretch all the way back to ancient Rome; others maintain that its date and basic memes are Christianized versions of pagan rites.

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