The story of what we now know as Halloween started a long time ago, on a dark night much like this one, across the ocean, in a country that isn’t America so who cares. Roaming across that ancient, perpetually spooky and moonlit countryside were people called pagans — primitive, unbathed worshippers of an angrier and, quite frankly, much cooler god than yours.
This heathen god — colloquially known as “Oh, fuck, what is that?!” or “Why is this happening? WHY?!”, but most commonally called “Sam” — hated his pagan worshippers with a passion normally reserved for Republicans thinking about poor people. Once a year, to teach those stupid jerk followers of his a lesson and to make sure they continued to fear his awesome wrath, Sam raised the dead and unleashed all manner of flesh-hungry spirits to torment the pagans.
Now, being a ritualistic and punctual god, Sam released his hordes of ghosts and zombies the same time every fall, right smack in the middle of the harvest festival. Presumably because everyone was already drunk and less likely to realize they were worshipping a dick who kept trying to kill them with dead people.
It should be noted that the primary crop of the harvest festival was ancient sugar cane, or, as it is so often called by agrarian historians, “pagan meth.” Ancient sugar cane was several hundred times more potent than our current sugar cane, which is why no skeletons from the earlier years of civilization are ever found with teeth. The ancient sugar cane could also be fermented into alcohol in a single day’s time. Anyone with this old-school sugar in their system would be much more susceptible to shitting their pants at the sight of a zombie, rather than just clobbering it with a tree branch like a normal, sober person.
After a few years of being mauled by the walking dead, and with their numbers dwindling, a few of the pagans, quite by accident, realized that if they dressed up like corpes and malformed ghouls, the ravening hordes sent by their god would get confused and leave them alone to drink in peace. All that historians know of this discovery is that the accident in question involved a horse and was forbidden to ever be spoken of by anyone ever.
Some pagans, however, weren’t thrilled about the prospect of covering themselves in dirt and animal blood just to appease their increasingly questionable god. But they also didn’t want to get eaten alive by the mindless, shuffling corpses of their grandparents. This led to the creation of the first door with a lock. By simply closing the door, locking it, and THEN getting fucked up on sugar, these heathen ancients found that they could get drunk and celebrate their hearts out in peace. This soon led to the discovery that if they actively engaged in the creation of new life — i.e. the furious boning common to both the pre-attack-from-god and post-door festivals — the spirits of the deceased would stop clawing at the door screaming for brains and content themselves with standing outside and listening intently.
With their copulation now confined to their bedrooms, as all gods want it, Sam left the pagans alone. Historians surmise that being a god must have been lonely, and constantly watching your followers getting freaky with each other made gods even lonelier. And then angrier. And then crazier. Hence every Cracked.com article ever written about ancient civilizations.
Eventually, the pagans began to die out from STDs and sugar-meth overdoses, before finally getting swallowed by the new Christian culture in the area. The Christians, for their part, appropriated the festival for their own needs because fuck you, pagans. The indigenous name for the festival, “Hollow Weiner” — so-called because of the ancient pagan belief that male ejaculate was stored in the penis instead of the testicles, and that unbridled coupling, in fact, emptied said penis — was bastardized to “Hallowed Eve,” because, according to the bible, sex is terrible and just fucking worship our God and ridiculous origin stories already.
Years went on and, after a few wars, genocides, and more wars, Christians found themselves facing a fate similar to that of the pagans, only this time at the feet of American mass consumerism. The ceremonial remembrance of leaf-wearing relatives known as “Hallowed Eve” was re-appropriated by American businessmen who did away with the Christian aspects of the holiday entirely because fuck you, religion, you weren’t making enough money off of poor people. Corpse costumes were replaced with expensive licensed characters and sugar was refined and sold in ridiculously tiny packages. The day became known as “Halloween,” based on the public’s love of the seminal 1978 John Carpenter movie.
In more recent years, though, America has rediscovered these hidden roots of Halloween, and, as an apology to any offended pagans — as well as a way to assuage the white guilt rampant among the young folks — added as much of the alcohol and reckless public humping back into the holiday as October 31st can handle.
And that, kids, is where slutty Oscar the Grouch comes from.