BEGINNING OF THE DARKNESS
All Hallows Eve on 31 October came out of the Gaelic festival of Samhain - a celebration of the harvest, when the last crops were brought in before winter. The ancient Celts believed that, during Samhain, spirits could pass between the world of the living and the world of the dead, because the veil between the two worlds became thin and porous. As Christianity spread, absorbing pagan customs and festivals as it did so, by the 8th century Samhain had morphed into All Hallows Eve, the evening before All Hallows or All Saints Day on 1 November, during which people gave gifts to the poor and flower offerings to the deceased.
On All Hallows Eve, Mediaeval householders would bake 'soul cakes' to give to impoverished children who would sing and say prayers for the dead. This was called 'souling.' The children went door-to-door and people believed that their songs and prayers helped the souls of the departed to pass from Purgatory into Heaven.
Protestants don't believe in Purgatory, so during the Reformation of the 16th century, when the Church of England was established, the Catholic tradition of 'souling' was abolished. However, in 1578, the villagers of Giling, Yorkshire, broke into their local church to ring the bells. With no souling to help the souls of the departed rest in peace, this was the only compromise they could think of!