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Halloween is an annual celebration held on October 31 every year. It’s a day where anyone can don a costume and take on another persona judgement-free, walk through their neighbourhoods trick-or-treating, carve lanterns out of pumpkins and bob for candy apples.
This is a hugely popular holiday throughout Canada and North America. We even see companies like Starbucks joining in the fun by offering seasonal pumpkin spiced lattes. Halloween parties, zombie-themed walks and haunted houses are enjoyed by adults and children alike.
Read on to understand the history of Halloween in Canada and where to get the best atmosphere during this spooky celebration.
If you plan to prepare some Halloween treat bags for trick or treaters, check out our guide on where to buy Halloween candies. Prepare your front yard for the festivities with outdoor Halloween decorations from some of the top retail stores in Canada.
Halloween is an annual holiday during which the majority of Canadians carve pumpkin lanterns, hang spooky decorations and have fun with their families and friends. However, there are one or two households that prefer to let the celebrations pass by without acknowledgement.
During Halloween in Canada, you’ll see a number of homes decorated for the occasion. Some opt for the classic pumpkins and cobwebs look, while others go all out with animated props, themed creepy door knockers and harrowing lights and music to create a unique and eerie ambience.
Halloween is a contraction of “All Hallows Evening” and is a day that has been celebrated all over the world under a number of different names.
There is a school of thought that links modern Halloween celebrations back to the Celtic festival Samhain, which is an ancient pagan ceremony. Samhain was held at the end of the harvest season and marked the descent into the darker half of the year. During this time, it was suggested that the divide between the world of the living and the world of the supernatural shifted and that mystical creatures could move between the realms of the dead and the living more freely. This could be the spooky origin of our modern-day Halloween.
There is also said to be some influence from Christian celebrations. In Christianity, November 1 is a holy day called All Hallows’ Day, making October 31 All Hallows’ Eve. In addition, November 2 is called All Souls’ Day. These days were a time to honour the dead and the saints. It is believed that during the 700s, Christian beliefs merged somewhat with Celtic beliefs and All Hallows’ Eve merged with Samhain and began to more closely resemble the celebration we have today.
Another celebration linked to Halloween is the Mexican festival of the Day of the Dead, which is celebrated on November 2, the same day as All Souls’ Day in early Christianity. The Day of the Dead traditions come from pre-Colombian cultures, celebrated in the ninth month of the Aztec calendar. It is believed that this day dates back 2,500-3,000 years. During the Day of the Dead festival, many people will dress up, decorate their homes, walk the streets and remember friends and family members who have died. It is very possible that this ancient celebration has, over time, influenced and shaped Halloween as we know it today.
During the mid-1800s, Canada had a massive influx of Celtic immigrants from both Ireland and Scotland. It was around this time that Halloween celebrations were originally introduced to our country. The first documented example in Canada of children dressing up for Halloween was in Vancouver back in 1898.
If you’re a huge fan of the all-out Halloween experience, it’s said that Toronto is the place to be on October 31. With hugely popular frightful events like Halloween Fest, the Halloween Costume Crawl, The Monster’s Ball and many other themed events being carried out in the lead up to Halloween, there’s no better time to hit the road and head to Toronto.
That said, Vancouver is up there with its appealing selection of creepy and terrifying attractions too. Head to the Haunted Village at the Burnaby Village Museum for a scare or ten; book an evening at Fright Nights at the PNE for a thrill-tastic time; or treat the kids to a spooky, family-friendly outing at Glow in the Garden at the VanDusen Botanical Garden.
Halloween is so big in Canada, it’s easy to find an attraction tailored to your tastes nearby.
If you’re planning to trick-or-treat during Halloween in Canada or you want to hand out sweets and treats to trick-or-treaters this year, here are a few things you should consider:
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