But actually, this event was superimposed onto the ancient pagan Celtic festival of 'Samhain' which marked the beginning of winter and the beginning of the Celtic New Year.
Typical of many agricultural societies, the Celts had four major annual festivals based on the cyclical differences experienced in the changing seasons of nature and their corresponding weather patterns. The other three were 'Imbolc' (spring) 'Bealtane' (summer), 'Lugnasa' (harvest).
Samhain was a time when food was hoarded as people prepared for the cold season when nothing grew. As with all Irish festivals, bonfires were lit as people gathered together at warm fires to socialise.
But there were spirits that came on the night of Samhain that were malevolent. Candles were placed in skulls at the entrance to dwellings as light was feared by these dark foreboding creatures. This protection against evil became transformed in modern times into the positioning pumpkins with carved out faces and internal candles at windows and doorways