It begins the three-day observance of Allhallowtide ,  the time in the liturgical year dedicated to remembering the dead, including saints hallows , martyrs , and all the faithful departed. It is widely believed that many Halloween traditions originated from ancient Celtic harvest festivals , particularly the Gaelic festival Samhain ; that such festivals may have had pagan roots; and that Samhain itself was Christianized as Halloween by the early Church. Halloween activities include trick-or-treating or the related guising and souling , attending Halloween costume parties, carving pumpkins into jack-o'-lanterns , lighting bonfires , apple bobbing , divination games, playing pranks , visiting haunted attractions , telling scary stories, as well as watching horror films. The word Halloween or Hallowe'en dates to about  and is of Christian origin. Over time, All Hallow s E v en evolved into Hallowe'en. Today's Halloween customs are thought to have been influenced by folk customs and beliefs from the Celtic-speaking countries , some of which are believed to have pagan roots. For the Celts, the day ended and began at sunset; thus the festival began on the evening before 7 November by modern reckoning the half point between equinox and solstice. The names have been used by historians to refer to Celtic Halloween customs up until the 19th century,  and are still the Gaelic and Welsh names for Halloween.
Why do we celebrate Halloween?
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We will use your email address only for sending you newsletters. Please see our Privacy Notice for details of your data protection rights. To mark the event, people would build huge bonfires to burn crops and give animal sacrifices to the gods. Halloween costumes date back to ancient Samhain celebrations, where Druids would dress up in costumes of animal heads and skins.
When is All Hallows’ Eve?
The tradition dates back to the pagan times and the end of the harvest time. Here is everything you need to know. Gaels feared the return of spirits through this thin wall between the worlds because they thought they might damage their crops for the next season. As a result, to appease any spirits that would creep through, they would set up places at their dinner tables and offer the spirits food and drink. Bonfires would also be lit to scare off evil spirits. Halloween also marks the day before the feast of All Saints Day also known as All Hallows , a day that dates back to the eighth century and was designed to stamp out pagan traditions and convert people to Christianity.
One of the nicest surprises of living around the year with the Church is to find that Halloween is part of it. Not that the Mass of the day has mention of black cats, or the Divine Office of witches, but for so long Halloween meant nothing but parties and vandalism that when someone first proposed that it came out of the liturgy, I asked: "Are you sure? Some tell me they understand that Halloween pranks were a post-Reformation contribution to plague Catholics who kept the vigil of All Saints. Now it is possible that Halloween was abused for such a purpose; nevertheless, during all the Christian centuries up until the simplification of the Church calendar in , it was a liturgical vigil in its own right and thus has a reason for being. Learning this, one pious lady of our acquaintance was heard to say: "Oh, I'm so glad to know that. I was about to write my congressman and suggest the whole thing be outlawed. A celebration much like our Halloween, with bonfires and feasting on apples and nuts and harvest fruits, was part of pagan worship for centuries. The Britons celebrated in honor of their sun-god with bonfires, a tribute to the light that brought them abundant harvest. At the same time they saluted Samhain, their "lord of death," who was thought to gather together at last the souls of the year's dead which had been consigned to the bodies of animals in punishment for their sins. The Romans celebrated the same kind of festival at this time in honor of their goddess Pomona, a patroness of fruits and gardens.