Halloween was seen to the Celts, and other ancient people, as the celebration of the end of the agricultural year and the dawn of a new one. What our pagan ancestors celebrated with was Halloween Shakers. These hand-crafted ornaments were simply a tin rattle with a wooden handle. (Similar to the noisemakers we use on New Year's Eve.) The purpose of making a loud racket was believed by our ancestors to drive away creatures of darkness and decay.
Some of the earliest Shakers are the wooden ratchet types that have a splint of wood which snaps against a carved wooden ratchet that turns as it is spun. They are usually of German origin and are ornamented with a round pumpkin face of plaster or other composition that gives weight to the piece.
In the mid 1800's, a company in Harrison, N.J., made Halloween Shakers based on the German designs and sold them to surrounding areas.
In contrast to what these Halloween relics were used for, certain noisemakers were rumored to have mystical powers and were used by various cults that engaged in dark rituals.