All about Halloween

Halloween is a holiday celebrated on 31 October. Kids and adults dress up in costumes and go trick or treating (knocking on people’s doors for sweets). But not everyone gives sweets, sometimes you get tricked instead!

People play all sorts of fun and scary tricks on each other. 

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On Halloween people usually dress up in scary costumes of witches, ghosts, zombies and monsters. Other people dress up as their favourite cartoon characters or as superheroes. Some even dress up their pets!

Have you ever dressed up for Halloween? What is your favourite costume?

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Why do people celebrate Halloween?

A long time ago in Celtic lands (Ireland and Scotland), October 31st was celebrated as the last day of the year. It was a night for witches! A festival called Samhain was held to show the end of the summer and the beginning of winter. Bonfires were lit and rituals were made for the gods. People believed that during this time, evil spirits would roam about. To avoid being noticed by the spirits, people wore masks and other disguises.

This old festival of Samhain was later mixed with a Catholic celebration called All Saints Day, celebrated on 1 November. All Saints Day was also called All Hallows Day and the night before was called All Hallows Eve. 

Does All Hallows Eve look familiar to you?... it’s Halloween! Over time the name was shortened and that’s how Halloween came to be.


The colours of Halloween

The main Halloween colours are orange and black. Orange stands for the harvest and autumn and black is a symbol of death.

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Fun facts

  • Trick or treating came from an ancient tradition where beggars would knock on peoples’ doors for a type of biscuit called ‘soul cake’. In exchange for the soul cake, the beggars would say a prayer for the dead relatives of the household.
  • The first Jack O’Lanterns were carved from turnips and potatoes, not pumpkins. They were carved to scare off evil spirits.

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