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Also called All Hallows Eve
All Saints' Eve
Hallowed End
Observed by Canada, Ireland, New Zealand, United Kingdom, Japan, Bahamas, United States, sometimes Australia, Sweden, and many Latin American countries where it is known as Noche de las Brujas (Night of the Witches)
Type Religious, cultural (celebrated mostly irrespective of religion)
Significance There are many sources of Halloween's significance
Date October 31
Celebrations Trick-or-treating, ghost tours, apple bobbing, costume parties, carving jack-o'-lanterns, bonfires, and fireworks (in Ireland)

Halloween is a date celebrated on the night of October 31st. Its celebration is most practised in the United States and Canada. Children wear costumes and they go to peoples' homes saying "Trick or treat!" to ask for candy, sweets in the United Kingdom, or lollies in Australia, and then people give it to them. This practice originally involved a threat. A threat is when someone says that they will do something bad if they do not get what they want. In this case the threat could be explained as: "Give me a treat or I will play a trick on you." Children today usually do not play tricks if they do not get treats. However, some children still get up to mischief (pranks or things to make fun of people; like putting toilet paper in trees; writing on windows with soap or throwing eggs at peoples' houses). People sometimes dress up as ghosts, witches, goblins and other scary things for Halloween.


The Pagan holiday Samhain, that the All Saints holy day replaced, was also known as the Day of the Dead. Many Wiccans and modern Pagans celebrate the Day of the Dead.[source?] This is a happy holiday (even though it celebrates 'Death'). It is the day that the souls of dead people are believed to come back to Earth.

Many Lutheran churches celebrate a holiday on October 31st called the Reformation. This holiday celebrates the day that Martin Luther put The Ninety-Five Theses on a church door.


It is said that on the night of All Hallow's Eve the gap between the living and dead worlds are closer, and that dead souls come back to earth. The souls would then look for a living body to possess for the next year. People, not wanting to be possessed would leave food and drinks outside their doors to please the souls. Over time, beggars started taking and then begging for food and then children started to. This is only believed in some religions.

Dressing Up

As well as leaving food out, some people would dress up as ghosts and scary things so the dead souls would think that they were dead too, or to scare them away.

Eventually, these two traditions combined, creating Trick-or-Treating.

Other websites

Media related to Halloween at Wikimedia Commons