Netsuke of a skeleton with a mallet
Halloween is an annual holiday celebrated each year on October 31. It originated with the ancient Celtic festival of Samhain when people would light bonfires and wear costumes to ward off ghosts. In the 8th century, Pope Gregory III designated November 1 as a time to honour all saints - All Saints Day; which then incorporated some of the traditions of Samhain. The evening before was known as All Hallows Eve, and later Halloween. Over time, Halloween evolved into a day of activities like trick-or-treating, carving jack-o-lanterns, festive gatherings, donning costumes, eating sweet treats and divination games, playing pranks, visiting haunted attractions, telling scary stories, and watching horror films.
The Japanese have many wild and wonderful legends of ghostly beings, known as Yokai, and one of the most malevolent of them all is the Gashadokuro. The name literally translates to “starving skeleton”.
Sir Ratan Tata Art Collection
19th century CE