With Halloween around the corner, a lot of people are asking us 'just what is Halloween?' or 'is there some sort of comprehensive history of Halloween which will allow us to get up to speed both quickly and easily?' We completely understand. The origins of Halloween, and the traditions that go with it, have always been a bit murky. So, we’ve come up with a definitive timeline of Halloween’s most popular events:
1977 - Halloween is invented when a man gets lost in the woods and thinks he sees something in the dark. He is the first man to ever feel fear. He returns to his village and tells the others about the new emotion and they invent ways for other people to feel it.
1978 - 12 months later everybody in the world has felt and understood fear. It is locked away and everyone decides to only let it out one night each year. This night is called Christmas Day until somebody points out that Christmas already exists. ‘Halloween’ is chosen instead after the word is found inside a book of nonsense verse for children.
1979 - Trick or treating is invented by Derren Brown to advertise his new magic show where he treats or tricks people into having dinner with him.
1980 - Halloween is cancelled because there aren’t enough novelty skeleton costumes for everyone’s dogs to dress up in.
1981 - Halloween 2: The Halloweening is released in four cinemas across the United Kingdom. By now, the national holiday has outgrown its humble beginnings and only a young Jonathan Ross watches the film. He gives it five popcorn bags out of five.
1982 - Halloween 3: Season of the Witch happens. More people watch it than have watched anything else that’s ever been at the cinemas. The film immediately gets a 100% on rottentomatoes.com
1983 - The first ever sighting of a werewolf is recorded in Michael Jackson’s Thriller video. A lot of people are killed but it’s still a very popular video.
1984 - Lots of ghosts turn up but they are chased away by humans. “Go away, ghosts,” they say. “This holiday is not for you.” It will be many years before ghosts are allowed to Halloween.
1985 - 87 - Halloween is banned by Thomas Cromwell, the Demon King.
1988 - Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers as Austin Powers suddenly appears from behind a door. Everybody is scared for a moment but it’s okay because nothing is real.
1989 - The clocks go back for the first time and Halloween is celebrated an hour earlier. When everybody realises they laugh for a little bit too long.
1990 - The ‘sexy cat’ costume is invented for a joke but is accidentally taken seriously. Nobody ever takes credit for coming up with the idea.
1991 – Pumpkins aren’t selling very well so the PR Team of the film Halloween are called in. Pumpkin becomes everyone’s 61st favourite vegetable.
1992 - Cereal with milk is voted the favourite food of people on Halloween morning.
1993 - TV personality Kriss Akabusi goes on Live and Kicking to shout that ‘Halloween is dead’ but nobody pays attention because they are too busy preparing their questions about the Guinness World Records TV show, Record Breakers.
1994 - A man is arrested for dressing up as a policeman for Halloween. Impersonating a police officer is a serious crime no matter what the holiday spirited context might be.
1995 - This year the film Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers as The Love Guru turns up in a pile of DVDs that somebody left at a charity shop. It is immediately lost amongst a pile of James Last LPs and never seen again.
1996 - The film Ghost comes out and is voted the scariest film of all time for its terrifying depiction of a couple using a pottery wheel.
1997 - Because of the film Ghost, ghosts are allowed into Halloween for the first time. They spend most of it too self-conscious to scare people and end up going home early.
1998 - Halloween H20, a new bottled water, starts to appear in the shops. It is not as nice as other bottles of water that you can find under your tap and is quietly removed from the shelves.
1999 - A giant man is found with the word ‘Halloween’ written onto his leg but it washes off and everybody relaxes.
2000 - The ghost of Guy Fawkes turns up a couple of weeks early. He’s embarrassed but the majority of people can laugh about it now.
2001 - Someone writes a book about the history of the holiday and everybody forgets to celebrate because they are too busy reading the reviews.
2002 - Halloween overtakes birthdays as the day when people accumulate the most unwanted clutter in their homes.
2003 - Ghosts. So many ghosts. They’re everywhere. Everyone paralysed by fear and unable to celebrate Halloween.
2004 – The ghosts are exterminated by the ‘Ghost Busters’ who are then made the subject of a very popular documentary. Everyone pretends to be happy about it but they all secretly miss the ghosts.
2005 - Plastic spiders seen out of the corner of people’s eyes are voted as The Most Enjoyable Unexpected Scare of 2005.
2006 - Somebody forgets to end Halloween. It doesn’t stop happening until somebody rings the bell.
2007 - Apple bobbing is banned after everyone realises it isn’t fun and they don’t like it.
2008 - Everybody looks for Halloween but nobody can find it. “I’m sure it was here a second ago,” says the person who everybody suspects lost it.
2009 - A group of teenagers spend the weekend in a deserted cabin in the woods and make a series of questionable decisions. Nothing bad happens because the only scary thing you’ll find in British woodlands are slightly aggressive badgers.
2010 - For the first time, children are allowed to knock on people’s doors and ask for sweets. It is a big success.
2011 - The official slogan for Halloween is launched. ‘Halloween - it’ll tide you over until Bonfire Night'.
2012 - A scary book is found in an ancient Egyptian tomb. It is thought to be a magical book of pure evil but it turns out it’s just a John Grisham thriller that someone left there.
2013 - The Queen dresses up as Merlin for her annual Halloween speech. Everyone votes it her best impression of a wizard of all time.
2014 - Halloween is renamed ‘Scary Day’ but everyone thinks it’s too scary so it’s changed back.
2015 - A black cat wearing a collar wins the fancy dress costume parade as it is mistaken for two people dressed up in a realistic black cat wearing a collar costume.
2016 - Everyone is too afraid of the actual world to pretend they are scared of Halloween.
We're already looking forward to next Halloween. Rumour has it that it may involve leprechauns. Or a massive pie. Or Matt Cardle performing a spooky mash-up of Top 40 hits on his famous silver pan pipes. It's going to be great.