Official Publication of La Jolla High School Since 1924

How Halloween Came to Be

The Halloween that people know and love today has origins from centuries ago.

February 7, 2023

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Halloween is a time when people carve pumpkins, put up spooky decorations, dress up in costumes, and trick or treat. The emergence of Halloween began centuries ago. As the holiday was popularized it continued to incorporate different traditions from all over the world. This was modernized to what people know as Halloween. 

The origin of Halloween goes centuries back to the Ancient Celtic festival known as Samhain. According to National Geographic, the religion of the Celtic people in the regions of Ireland, the United Kingdom, and France celebrated the Samhain festival which later spread to other parts of the world. On October 31st, more than 2,000 years ago, the Celtics first celebrated the end of the harvest season along with the Celtic New Year. Magic bloomed when the Celtic New Year arose where the ghosts of the past walked the earth once more. Folks designed costumes and lit bonfires to rid of any evil spirits. It was the belief that the veil between the physical and spiritual world fell and souls of loved ones returned. As centuries passed the traditions solidified and grew in popularity. The Catholic Church in retaliation named November 1st All Saints Day, honoring the faithful deceased saints of the Holy Bible. All Saints Day took the place of All Hallows Eve, which is now commonly known as Halloween. As years passed, the Celtic continued to celebrate Samhain; it became common to associate Halloween with ghosts and other mythical creatures.

It was the year 1840 when many Irish immigrated to America because of the potato famine and they brought holiday customs like bobbing for apples and pranking neighbors which later evolved to dressing up and trick or treating. Children hid their recognition with masks in order to play tricks on people. In 1930, however, the tricks crossed boundaries and turned to vandalism. Resulting in storekeepers and neighbors giving out treats to stop the tricks. The children were encouraged to go door to door asking for treats rather than causing mischief. This is how modern Halloween came to be.

In today’s world, many people go trick-or-treating, carve pumpkins, go to haunted houses and parties to celebrate Halloween. Currently, many people of the Catholic religion still celebrate All Saints Day however a majority of the US continues to celebrate Halloween. Haiden Worst, a junior, says that “During Halloween, I get dressed up, carve pumpkins, and go trick or treating.” Another student, Francesca Divona, a freshman, continued saying that during Halloween “I go to many haunted houses, watch many scary movies and I go to Halloween parties.” The mainstream media adopted this holiday and used its theme for fun events because of past Celtic beliefs that tie into mythical creatures that represent Halloween today.

All in all, Halloween has bloomed from being a small Ancient Celtic celebration to a holiday celebrated all over the world. It is interesting to think that Halloween originated from Celtic religious beliefs to a holiday where we dress up in costumes and trick or treat.

LJHS Haunted Stories

La Jolla High School is the second oldest campus in the San Diego Unified District, having been built 101 years ago. After many years since being founded in 1922, the school has undergone a number of alterations to fit the student’s needs and to continue modernizing at the pace of society. All the years passing paranormal occurrences have been continuous and brought up the discussion amounts students and faculty members of how one can believe and rationalize the connection between the spiritual and physical world. 

The La Jolla High School librarian, who is also one of the most experienced and knowledgeable staff members, has observed and experienced multiple blatant evidence of paranormal activity on campus. Mrs. Kelley, who is fearless and bold, and doesn’t let this particular issue bother her, recently had an eye-catching encounter in the library while conversing with another faculty member. She explains, “As we were discussing and talking, that halloween decoration candle sitting on the end of the desk, started moving and flung across to the other side.” This episode was uncalled for, she says, as it scared the faculty member hanging next to her. She continued the anecdote by pointing out how frequent tiny occurrences like this are and offering advice to avoid making a big deal out of them. 

Photo Via Zainab Hassoun

A well-known English teacher, Mr. Cisneros, decided to share a personal off-campus paranormal experience. Cisneros has been teaching night classes at Southwestern college for many years now. The college bought a satellite campus, detached from the main college campus, in San Ysidro to be more accessible to students who resided in San Ysidro and who desire to attend classes over the border. The first night of lecturing there, he recalled a familiar smell, Big Macs, which is a popular meal from Mcdonald’s. It was odd, to say the least, but brushing it off, he continued the lecture. As the night fell and the moon shimmered brighter, Mr. Cisneros remembered the vivid sounds of gunshots… boom, boom, boom! Cisneros was startled and said,  ¨I talked to someone about that. Someone, I think, one of the ladies that worked in the office. She said we hear it all the time. So between the smell of the food from the restaurant that used to be there to the bullet sounds of the activity, that was the closest I have ever gotten to paranormal activity, and it was freaky, and it just made me think.¨

Before this specific location was a satellite campus, it was a Mcdonald’s. But on July 18, 1984, a tragic event later named the San Ysidro McDonald’s Massacre occurred when 41-year-old James Huberty killed 21 people and injured 19. At the scene, the gunman was killed by a policeman. The building was laid, while Mcdonald’s thought they could never have a restaurant here again.

Another English teacher at LJHS, Mr. Essex, opened up about a paranormal encounter that he was reluctant to share for many years due to the underlying fear that people would perceive him as crazy.

In his early youth, a small kid would appear in his room every once in a while. Hardly ever did this occur, but as the moon shined blue, every once in a while, the ghostly boy would sit at the end of the bed. This seemed harmless, and provoked mild fear but never enough to discuss with family or friends. The years pass and Essex decides to attend college leaving behind these odd experiences only to return during the summer. Before the fall of sophomore year, he stayed at his family home one last time before his mother sold the home. Essex describes the last night saying, ¨That night was kinda creepy because he turned and I felt afraid and I was trying to get out of bed. I felt like he was grabbing my legs and that freaked me out. So, I got out of bed and there was this big ruckus everything fell over. My sister, who was home from the summer too, and my mother came in and they go Woah, Woah, what’s going on in here?” The dresser was knocked over and the whole room looked to be a mess. Responding to his mother and sister he said that nothing happened, seconds following they pointed out the scratch marks on the lower part of his leg. Skeptical, he advocated, saying that the cat always slept in the bed, rationalizing the cat scratching his leg. The hour hand reached midnight, he went downstairs to collect himself after it all. His older sister entered from another room and described the small boy precisely.  Essex says, ¨All the rest of it. I could explain away. The dream, the cat, but I have never been able to reconcile exactly what the deal was between my sister and me seeing the same thing other than we saw the same scary movies.¨

It’s up to debate where the energy of the soul transfers after passing.

About the Contributor
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Alizee Carey, Spotlight Editor

Alizee Carey is a sophomore at La Jolla high school. This is her second year in journalism, now as spotlight editor. Joining journalism was the best way...

The History of Horror Icons

With the passing of Halloween, it was exciting to see the creative costumes people came up with. While some dressed up as characters from television shows or movies, others decided to go with the classics. You might be wondering where many of the recognizable monsters that are known all around the world came from. Each has its own unique origin story, and rise to popularity. 

Image Via Griffin Sanford

A mythological creature with a hunger for blood, the vampire has influenced literature and film all over. Elliot Goss, a senior, when asked where he thought vampires came from said, “Uh… Transylvania?” While many believe vampires originated in Eastern Europe, they actually have roots in ancient Egypt. Sekhmet, the daughter of Ra, was a feline warrior associated with plague and healing. In early stories, she is described as having an obsession with drinking blood and wanting to punish humankind for their disobedience. In Jewish folklore, a woman named Lilith was known as a demon in ancient Babylonia. Lilitu, a word named after Lilith, was used to describe people who were hungry for human victims. Bram Stoker’s Dracula established the mistaken notion that vampires originated in Europe. The book takes place in Transylvania, Romania, and is about a tall, pale, thin man with a long mustache. Dracula can shape-shift into different forms, has extreme physical strength, and controls nocturnal animals. Many of these attributes contributed to the modern idea of vampires.  

The zombie, an internationally known horror icon, surprisingly was born from Haitian folklore. Haiti, an island in the Caribbean, first described zombies as a product of spells by a voodoo sorcerer called Borkor. With the harsh environment involved with the Haitian slave trade, many Haitians began telling stories and using West African fables as a mental escape from their brutal treatment. In 1872, scholar and author Maximilian Schele de Vere defined a zombi (the e was added later) as some sort of phantom creature. In the early 1900s with the expansion of the film industry, zombies became the focal point. The creation of the film, White Zombie, by director Victor Halperin, influenced most films to show zombies as white people.

Ghost stories have been around for thousands of years, and have come in all different genres. Zechariah Zaczkiewicz, a sophomore, when asked where he has seen ghosts the most in pop culture said, “I’d probably say the movies.” Ghost stories were first documented in Roman literature, with stories of people encountering spirits and haunted homes. Many of the early stories described that ghosts did not inflict pain on anyone, and haunted people for reasons including not burying them correctly or respecting them after death. Gothic writers took on this idea and made ghost stories more grim and ghoulish. These gothic tales are still utilized today as a guide when developing cinema plots.

Stepping back, it’s remarkable to see how many of these tales come from a fear of dying. All three types of monsters—zombies, vampires, and ghosts—involve some sort of death, whether it’s a haunting from the afterlife or a return to destroy humanity. Paul Patterson, an English professor at Saint Joseph’s University describes this phenomenon by saying, “The fear of death. It’s so completely human, it transcends all of time.”

About the Contributor
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Griffin Sanford, Staff Writer

Griffin Sanford is a senior at La Jolla High School and is ecstatic about becoming a new member of The Hi-Tide Staff. He has always wanted to write articles,...

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