For Kids: The name Samhain means "Summer's End" and that is just what it was. Samhain was the final harvest and the New Year Festival. It was a time to clean out the old and welcome the new, to reflect and forgive, and to visit with loved ones - both living and dead.
The ancient Celts believed, on October 31, the good spirits of the dead could come back to earth, often in the form of a black cat, to be reunited with loved ones, one last time.
The ancient Celts believed that the night before each new year, a door opened between this world and the Otherworld - a place the ancient Celts believed was inhabited by supernatural spirits both good and bad. They believed that October 31 was the most dangerous night in the year. That night, people were exposed to the entire supernatural world. Once the doorway was opened to allow a loved one to visit, evil spirits could pass through as well.
The ancient Celts left us a rich legacy of mythology and of stories about fairies, leprechauns, banshees, and ghouls. Their culture lives on today in music, story, and song, and in many of our Halloween customs.