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The history of Halloween

"Today" show co-hosts Al Roker, Natalie Morales, Ann Curry and Meredith Vieira, with actress Tina Fey and actor Will Ferrell appear on NBC's "Today" Halloween episode at Rockefeller Plaza in Manhattan. (Oct. 29, 2010) Photo Credit: Getty Images

Today, Halloween is celebrated in the United States with costumes and candy gathering. But how did the holiday come about? Fear not, ghosts and goblins, we have all the answers:

History of Halloween costumes

The origins of Halloween date back to the Celtic festival Samhain, when people would dress up and dance around to scare off ghosts. In later years, Pope Gregory III declared Nov. 1 to be All Saints' Day, which had traditions similar to the Samhain.

The day before All Saints' Day, Oct. 31, became known as All Hallows Eve, and in later years Halloween. Though the holiday was religious in its roots, over time it became a secular holiday, but to this day, Samhain is considered a very important Wiccan "Sabbat."

So where does the candy come in?

The “trick or treating” aspect of Halloween is most likely based on an English celebration called All Souls' Day, when families would hand out “Soul Cakes” to the poor begging for food.

It is believed Halloween came to America with the colonist of New England, who were religious protestants. It later spread to the rest of the United States.

The history of candy corn dates back to the 1880s when the Wunderle Candy Co. in Philadelphia invented the popular candy made to resemble dried corn kernels.

According to the National Confectioners Association, candy companies will produce nearly 35 million pounds of the corny candy this year. That's about 9 billion individual kernels of corn.

For fun ways to celebrate Halloween around Long Island, check out our Halloween guide.

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