The name Halloween comes from a Scottish derivative of All Hallows Eve, the night preceding All Saints Day. Much like the European Walpurgis Night which falls on the eve of May Day, or the Medieval Feast of Fools, Halloween is a leftover from ancient pagan holidays celebrating harvests and the changing of the seasons. However, the odd association with ghosts and witches is a bit harder to pin down.
Ancient superstitions regarding night, the movement of the stars and the moon, and the change of seasons are found in nearly every culture around the world. It was often believed that restless spirits and malicious fairies roamed the earth on these various “eves” as the doorways to the spirit world were opened during these annual transitions between winter and spring or one year to the next. The tradition of Christmas ghosts faded with the end of the Victorian period and never really took root in America but Santa Claus himself is a spirit who comes forth on Christmas Eve.