One story about Jack, an Irishman, who was not allowed into Heaven because he was stingy with his money. So he was sent to hell. But down there he played tricks on the Devil (Satan), so he was kicked out of Hell and made to walk the earth forever carrying a lantern.
Well, Irish children made Jack's lanterns on October 31st from a large potato or turnip, hollowed out with the sides having holes and lit by little candles inside. And Irish children would carry them as they went from house to house begging for food for the village Halloween festival that honored the Druid god Muck Olla. The Irish name for these lanterns was "Jack with the lantern" or "Jack of the lantern," abbreviated as " Jack-o'-lantern" and now spelled "jack-o-lantern."
The traditional Halloween you can read about in most books was just children's fun night. Halloween celebrations would start in October in every elementary school.
Children would make Halloween decorations, all kinds of orange-paper jack-o-lanterns. And from black paper you'd cut "scary" designs ---an evil witch with a pointed hat riding through the sky on a broomstick, maybe with black bats flying across the moon, and that meant bad luck. And of course black cats for more bad luck. Sometimes a black cat would ride away into the sky on the back of the witch's broom.
A on Halloween night we'd dress up in Mom or Dad's old shoes and clothes, put on a mask, and be ready to go outside. The little kids (children younger than we were) had to go with their mothers, but we older ones went together to neighbors' houses, ringing their doorbell and yelling, "Trick or treat!" meaning, "Give us a treat (something to eat) we'll play a trick on you!" The people inside were supposed to come to the door and comment on our costumes.
Oh! here's a ghost. Oh, there's a witch. Oh, here's an old lady.