Google haunts internet with a series of animated Halloween doodles

31 Oct 2014

Google is celebrating that most ancient of festivals, Halloween, with a series of amazing doodles that include ghosts, witches, werewolves, scarecrows, and living pumpkins.

One of the doodles on the internet search giant’s homepage is a paean to American Werewolf, with one of the letters of the word Google transforming into a werewolf when a full moon appears. Another shows a ghost chasing a girl around a house.

Six in all, the doodles celebrate the modern trick-or-treat interpretation of Halloween as we know it, with the idea that people dress up to fool the dead, using humour and ridicule to confront the power of death.

However, Halloween, also known as All Hallows’ Eve or Allhallowtide in the Christian world, is in fact an ancient Celtic harvest festival that extends back more than 2,000 years.

In Ireland, the festival is known as Samhain while in Germany it is known as Totensonntag.

Samhain was held across the Celtic world and was fervently celebrated in Ireland, Scotland, Wales and the Isle of Man and has been mentioned in some of the earliest Irish and Welsh literature.

Special bonfires were lit and prayers offered for the souls of the dead, followed by ritual games intended to divine the future.

The earliest celebration of Samhain is believed to have taken place 2,000 years ago on the Hill of Ward, also known as Tlachtgha, in Co Meath.

Today’s Halloween Google Doodles

Halloween pumpkin image via Shutterstock

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years