Browse Definitions :

Halloween (or Hallowe’en) history, trivia and a quiz

Writing for Business

Which is correct?
_________ is here and you know what that means — cybercriminals have set up bait sites for SEO poisoning.
a. Hallowe’en
b. Halloween


Answer: b., for AP style

Explanation:

“Halloween” is derived from “All Hallows Even.” The “een” at the end is a contraction of “even” (meaning evening) which is why the old spelling for Halloween had an apostrophe.

Halloween is the evening before All Hallows, which means “All Saints Day.” “All Hallows” originated in Old English (ealra hālgena) but the first record of “All Hallows Even” is 1556. The day is still sometimes referred to as “All Hallows Eve” and that is sometimes written as Allhallows Eve.

Some Halloween trivia:
All Saint’s Day was first celebrated in 609, in mid-May, but was moved to November 1 by decree of Pope Gregory IV. The day was reserved for prayer for the newly deceased to help them on their passage to Heaven. November 2 was All Souls’ Day.

The ancient roots of All Hallows are in the Pagan feast of Samhain (pronounced sah-win or sow-win), which marked the culmination of the harvest and the transition to the darker days of winter. At Samhain, it was thought that the veil between worlds was at its thinnest, allowing the dead (and other entities, like fairies) to walk among us.

The origin of trick-or-treating was most likely souling, which involved groups of the poor going from door to door on All Souls’ Day requesting soul cakes, spicy, round shortbreads that the more fortunate baked (or, I suppose, being more fortunate, had the servants bake). Both the act of giving them out and the act of eating them were considered forms of prayer for souls in purgatory. Here’s a soul cake recipe. Bake some — a soul is released from purgatory for each one!

***

Wikipedia provides much more Halloween history.

Michael Fosset offers more tips on AP style on Halloween-related terms.

Looking for some more Halloweeny fun? Try our Halloween geek quiz.

Follow me on Twitter @tao_of_grammar

Dig Deeper on Writing for Business

Networking
  • network management system

    A network management system, or NMS, is an application or set of applications that lets network engineers manage a network's ...

  • host (in computing)

    A host is a computer or other device that communicates with other hosts on a network.

  • Network as a Service (NaaS)

    Network as a service, or NaaS, is a business model for delivering enterprise WAN services virtually on a subscription basis.

Security
  • WebAuthn API

    The Web Authentication API (WebAuthn API) is a credential management application program interface (API) that lets web ...

  • Common Vulnerability Scoring System (CVSS)

    The Common Vulnerability Scoring System (CVSS) is a public framework for rating the severity of security vulnerabilities in ...

  • Dridex malware

    Dridex is a form of malware that targets victims' banking information, with the main goal of stealing online account credentials ...

CIO
  • audit program (audit plan)

    An audit program, also called an audit plan, is an action plan that documents what procedures an auditor will follow to validate ...

  • blockchain decentralization

    Decentralization is the distribution of functions, control and information instead of being centralized in a single entity.

  • outsourcing

    Outsourcing is a business practice in which a company hires a third party to perform tasks, handle operations or provide services...

HRSoftware
  • team collaboration

    Team collaboration is a communication and project management approach that emphasizes teamwork, innovative thinking and equal ...

  • employee self-service (ESS)

    Employee self-service (ESS) is a widely used human resources technology that enables employees to perform many job-related ...

  • learning experience platform (LXP)

    A learning experience platform (LXP) is an AI-driven peer learning experience platform delivered using software as a service (...

Customer Experience
  • Net Promoter Score (NPS)

    Net Promoter Score (NPS) is a metric that organizations use for assessing customer loyalty toward their brand, products or ...

  • B2C (business-to-consumer)

    B2C, or business-to-consumer, is a retail model where products or services move directly from a business to the end user who has ...

  • market segmentation

    Market segmentation is a marketing strategy that uses well-defined criteria to divide a brand's total addressable market share ...

Close