Halloween is that time of year where kids dress up in spooky costumes and knock on your door for candy.

It is something that almost everyone partakes in, whether it is trailing behind your child around the streets of London or buying cheap candy to give to the eager trick-or-treaters; but nobody ever questions why we have this recurring celebration every year on the last day of October.

Halloween is the evening of the Western Christian feast of All Hallows’ Day. It is dedicated to remembering the dead including martyrs, hallows (saints) and the faithful departed (the souls of all Christians that have died). 

Halloween also has multiple names, such as:

  • Hallowe’en
  • Allhallowe’en
  • All Hallows’ Eve
  • All Saints’ Eve

Many people believe that some Halloween traditions from ancient Celtic harvest festivals, especially Samhain (a Gaelic festival) because it has pagan (a 4th Century term for a person who worshipped more than one God) roots. 

Some Christians celebrate Halloween by attending church services and lighting candles on the graves of the dead, however some more common Halloween activities include trick-or-treating, pumpkin carving, apple bobbing,  telling scary stories, watching horror films, and Halloween costume parties.

Trick-or-treating is the most common Halloween celebration everywhere. Children walk around their neighbourhood, knocking on peoples doors asking for a treat which is usually candy or sometimes, money. If they don’t receive a treat, they threaten to perform a trick on the homeowner or their house such as throwing eggs at peoples’ cars or toilet papering their house.

We wear spooky costumes because originally people would light bonfires and wear costumes, so we wear them today as a bit of fun. Commonly people dress up as ghosts, zombies, vampires, witches and skeletons. 

Halloween does not just happen in our country, but is also celebrated by the US, Canada, Ireland, China, Australia, Germany, Poland and Mexico. Mexicans have a slightly different celebration call Día de Los Muertos which means ‘Day of the Dead’ in English. Their celebration lasts three days from the 31st of October to the 2nd of November and is also in honour of the dead.

By Rain Reid-Parr