Hallow's End is a holiday originating in the human Kingdom of Lordaeron. It's believed to be a time when the barrier between living and dead wears thin, allowing those who have passed on to be sensed by the still-living. Traditionally, before the first hints of winter, a wicker man would be constructed outside of the palace. This effigy would be set aflame at sunset, and any person who so desired could offer a branch to the fires. The burning branch symbolized the burning away of anything that did not want to be carried forward and reflected on during the idleness of winter. The ritual has been around as long as any Lordaeron citizens can recall.
After the devastation of Lordaeron, the Forsaken keep the tradition alive, burning the wicker man outside of Undercity. Alliance members will find their effigy outside of Stormwind. Not only can you burn away your burdens, you can get a buff from watching the ceremony! The wicker man is just one cornerstone of Hallow's End, the other being the appearance of the Headless Horseman.
The Headless Horseman is what became of Sir Thomas Thomson of the Silver Hand. When Sir Thomson bore witness to Baron Rivendare's betrayal, learned of Arthas Menethil's betrayal, and Mograine's fall, he turned to the Scarlet Crusade. Sir Thomson sent his family to Kalimdor while he remained behind to fight the Scourge. His family never left Lordaeron. Mad with fantasticism, he slew them in a raid before realizing who it was. This was the last straw, and Sir Thomson descended into delusions. He believed everyone but him was infected, turning on his Scarlet brothers. After slaying many Crusaders, Sir Thomson was decapitated. The dreadlord Balnazzar then warped the fallen paladin into the fiendish Headless Horseman we know today.
Much like its real-life inspiration Halloween, tricks and treats abound. Scattered across Azeroth (and Outland) are Candy Buckets galore, ready to offer up some Tricky Treat that can be traded for tons of cosmetic goodies and once-a-year battle pets. Take on the ghastly Headless Horseman for some level-appropriate loot and a chance at the Horseman's Reins! When you've done your daily run at him in the Scarlet Monastery, save some burning villages from the Shade of the Horseman for an achievement and an extra Tricky Treat.
The first Hallow's End in-game happened in October 2005. Like most world events at the time, rewards were sparse and the event was more cosmetic than anything. As the game progressed, Hallow's End got more and more involved, eventually becoming what we know today. The Cataclysm revamp breathed new life into the event, offering better rewards than ever before.
Things of Interest
- Magic Broom is an insta-mount usable only during Hallow's End.
- Sinister Squashling, Feline Familiar, Creepy Crate, Cursed Birman and Widget the Departed are event-exclusive pets
- Complete Hallowed Be Thy Name for a <the Hallowed> title and for the meta-achievement What a Long, Strange Trip It's Been for the Violet Proto-Drake
Want to make sure you've gotten all the goodies? I recommend Candy Buckets add-on.