Greetings to you on this traditional Irish holiday!
Actually, it is! The predecessor to Halloween is the Celtic holiday of Samhain (pronounced "sow-en"). This holiday marked the end of summer, the end of harvest and the beginning of the dark time of the year. It is said to have been a time when the boundary between the physical world and the spirit world was paper thin, allowing spirits to return to earth for the night.
At the Sibley Lodge Fall dinner last night, I told the story of how Jack the Tinker tricked the devil. The story is too long for this blog, but when Jack finally died, he was not allowed into heaven, and the devil wouldn't let him in hell, either. So Jack's ghost was forced to wander the length and breadth of Ireland. St. Peter felt sorry for Jack, and not wanting him to fall into a pit at night, gave him a hollowed-out gourd with a candle to light his way.
Jack's ghost still wanders the byways of Ireland. But now, he's called "Jack O'Lantern."