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Halloween in New Zealand 2022

Do New Zealanders celebrate Halloween? Your questions answered.

Whilst this hugely popular holiday doesn’t have any actual roots in New Zealand, many Kiwis have come to enjoy the frightful festivities associated with Halloween. From creepy stories and family-friendly horror movies, to the Halloween candy and dressing up, Halloween might be here to stay.

Read on to understand the history of Halloween, the dos and don’ts of trick or treating, and where you can buy a costume online.

Need some costume inspiration? Check out our guides on Halloween costumes for couples, sexy costumes and costume ideas for groups.


When is Halloween in New Zealand?

Similar to other countries, New Zealand celebrates Halloween on 31 October each year.


What is Halloween?

While it is often referred to as an “American tradition”, Halloween actually originated in Britain and Ireland. It is thought to have started with the Celtic festival of Samhain, where it was believed that the souls of those who had died would return home to visit. To ward off evil spirits, the Celts would light bonfires on hilltops and wear disguises so that the spirits would not recognise them.

Later, in the 7th century, Pope Boniface IV established All Saints’ Day, which commemorates saints of the church who have gone to heaven. The evening before All Saints’ Day then became known as All Hallows’ Eve and, eventually, Halloween.

As people began to emigrate, traditions from each holiday began to spread. Many Halloween customs became popular with Americans in particular, with Halloween now considered to be a major American holiday.

Today, Halloween is celebrated in many countries all over the world under a variety of different names, with traditions such as dressing up in costume still commonly observed.


    Do New Zealanders celebrate Halloween?

    Yes and no.

    While Halloween is not widely celebrated in New Zealand, many people do like to get involved. However, a divide does exist among Kiwis around whether or not it should be observed.

    Some believe that it shouldn’t be celebrated as it isn’t a “New Zealand tradition”, while others don’t like to participate due to religious beliefs. However, many other Kiwis see it as an excuse to have a bit of fun, get dressed up in costume and throw a party.

    The divide does mean that Halloween in New Zealand is seen as a little gimmicky, with clubs, bars and restaurants using it as more of a theme night. Other Halloween traditions such as trick-or-treating and bobbing for apples are also not commonplace in New Zealand, though eating lollies and watching scary movies are still popular customs.

    Halloween Pumpkins

    Trick-or-treating etiquette during Halloween in New Zealand

    If you’re planning to trick-or-treat in New Zealand or you want to hand out lollies 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 New Zealanders 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. Before it gets dark is preferable.
    • A costume is a must. If you want to trick-or-treat, you’ll need a costume. Otherwise, you’re just asking strangers for lollies! Don’t have time to buy a costume? Here are 25 cheap and easy costumes you can make at home.
    • Inspect your lollies. Parents of young children, or you yourself, should inspect the haul carefully before consuming it. This can stop those with allergies from consuming something potentially unsafe, or eating something that could have been tampered with.

      For accepting trick-or-treaters:

      • Choose individually wrapped lollies. Pre-wrapped lollies (such as Minties or Fruit Bursts) are 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 sweets given the prevalence of allergies in western society. Kids often won’t read the labels before eating their candy.

      Top stores to buy costumes for Halloween in New Zealand

      Take the fuss out of Halloween and buy a costume from one of our favourite fashion stores carrying contemporary costumes.

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