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Halloween in Canada 2022

Do Canadians celebrate Halloween? Where did Halloween come from? Can I go trick-or-treating? We answer your questions.

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.

Do Canadians celebrate Halloween?


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.

The history of Halloween

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.

When did Canadians start to celebrate Halloween?

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.

Where’s the best place in Canada to embrace the Halloween atmosphere?

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.

Trick-or-treating etiquette during Halloween in Canada

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:

For trick-or-treaters

  • Try and stick to areas that have other trick-or-treaters. If you see lots of other trick-or-treaters out on the street, it’s likely that you’re in a Halloween-friendly neighbourhood. You’ll have better luck here.
  • Choose houses with decorations. Since not all Canadians celebrate Halloween, choosing houses with decorations is a good indicator of which households are happy to accept trick-or-treaters.
  • Try not to disturb people during dinnertime. Many people find doorbell ringers of any kind very offensive during dinnertime. Bear this in mind before you head out.
  • Don’t trick-or-treat too late in the evening. Be mindful that Halloween often occurs on a weekday and many people need their sleep. Try to do your trick-or-treating earlier rather than later.
  • A costume is a must. If you want to trick-or-treat, you’ll need a costume. Otherwise, you’re just asking strangers for candy.
  • Inspect your candy. Parents of young children, or you yourself, should inspect your haul carefully before consuming it. This can stop those with allergies from consuming something potentially unsafe.

For accepting trick-or-treaters:

  • Choose individually wrapped candy. Pre-wrapped candy is a lot more hygienic when you have lots of little hands rifling through candy bowls.
  • Put up some decorations. If you’re willing to accept trick-or-treaters, maybe put up a decoration or two on your door so kids and parents know that they’re ok to knock at your place.
  • Be mindful of allergies. It’s always kind to stay away from nut-based or gluten-based candy given the prevalence of allergies in western society. Kids often won’t read the labels before eating their candy.

If you want to celebrate Halloween in Canada this year, here’s all the inspiration and costumes ideas that you need:

Top stores to buy Halloween costumes

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