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Halloween in Canada

Quick Facts

Halloween in Canada stems from Celtic origins and marks a time when people believed spirits and the dead crossed over into the world of the living for one night.

Local names

NameLanguage
HalloweenEnglish
HalloweenFrench
HalloweenGerman

Alternative names

NameLanguage
Hallowe'enEnglish
L'HalloweenFrench

Halloween 2014

Friday, October 31, 2014

Halloween 2015

Saturday, October 31, 2015
List of dates for other years

Halloween is celebrated in Canada on or around October 31. It is a day to mark the single night in the year when, according to old Celtic beliefs, spirits and the dead can cross over into the world of the living. Some people hold parties and children may trick-or-treat in their neighborhood.

Halloween Canada

Black cats are part of the Halloween superstitions.

©iStockphoto.com/GlobalP

What do people do?

Some people put a lot of effort into decorating their homes, yards and drives. They may even construct life-size replica graveyards or dungeons and invite people from the neighborhood to view their creations or hold a themed party. Other people may organize fancy dress parties for adults or children. Popular activities at parties include watching horror films and trying to make fellow guests jump in fright.

Many children go out to play trick-or-treat. They dress up as ghosts, witches, skeletons or other characters and visit homes in their neighborhood. They ring doorbells and, when someone answers, they call out "trick-or-treat". This means that they hope to receive a gift of candy or other snacks and that they are threatening to play a trick if they do not get anything. Usually, they receive a treat and tricks are rarely carried out.

There are special types of food associated with Halloween. These include candies in packets decorated with symbols of Halloween, toffee apples made by coating real apples with a boiled sugar solution, roasted corn, popcorn and pumpkin pie or bread. Halloween beer, which is made by adding pumpkin and spices to the mash before fermenting it, is also available in specialist stores.

Children also take part in a long-standing Canadian tradition of "Trick-or-Treat for Unicef". Pumpkin-carving contests, pumpkin art tours, a reading marathon, and symbolic Walks for Water are just a few examples of the educational and fundraising activities schools and children develop to help provide thousands of children developing countries with basic quality education.

Public life

October 31 is not a public holiday. Schools, organizations, businesses, stores and post offices are open as usual. Some organizations may arrange Halloween parties, but these do not usually disrupt normal affairs. Public transport services run on their regular timetables. If people are driving around the neighborhood in the late afternoon or evening, it is important to be particularly aware of children, especially those wearing dark costumes, who may be unfamiliar with traffic conditions.

Background

Halloween has Celtic origins. In pre-Christian times, many people believed that spirits from the underworld and ghosts of dead people could visit the world of the living on the night of October 31. These spirits could harm the living or take them back to the underworld. To avoid this, people started dressing up as ghosts and spirits if they left their homes on October 31. They hoped that this would confuse the ghosts and spirits.

Halloween was also a time, when spirits might give messages to people. In some areas, it was traditional for unmarried girls to poor molten lead into water. The shape that the lead took when it hardened was seen as a clue to the professions of their future husbands. Halloween traditions were brought to Canada by Irish and Scottish immigrants. Halloween is now celebrated in a range of other countries, including the United States, the United Kingdom, Ireland and Australia.

Symbols

There is a wide range of Halloween symbols. Symbols include animals, such as black cats, bats and spiders, and figures, such as ghosts, skeletons, witches and wizards. Pumpkins, graveyards, cobwebs, haunted houses and the colors green, orange, grey and black are also associated with Halloween. These symbols are used to decorate homes and party venues and are seen on costumes, gift paper, cards, cookies, cakes and candy.

About Halloween in other countries

Read more about Halloween.

Halloween Observances

WeekdayDateYearNameHoliday typeWhere it is observed
WedOct 311990HalloweenObservance 
ThuOct 311991HalloweenObservance 
SatOct 311992HalloweenObservance 
SunOct 311993HalloweenObservance 
MonOct 311994HalloweenObservance 
TueOct 311995HalloweenObservance 
ThuOct 311996HalloweenObservance 
FriOct 311997HalloweenObservance 
SatOct 311998HalloweenObservance 
SunOct 311999HalloweenObservance 
TueOct 312000HalloweenObservance 
WedOct 312001HalloweenObservance 
ThuOct 312002HalloweenObservance 
FriOct 312003HalloweenObservance 
SunOct 312004HalloweenObservance 
MonOct 312005HalloweenObservance 
TueOct 312006HalloweenObservance 
WedOct 312007HalloweenObservance 
FriOct 312008HalloweenObservance 
SatOct 312009HalloweenObservance 
SunOct 312010HalloweenObservance 
MonOct 312011HalloweenObservance 
WedOct 312012HalloweenObservance 
ThuOct 312013HalloweenObservance 
FriOct 312014HalloweenObservance 
SatOct 312015HalloweenObservance 
MonOct 312016HalloweenObservance 
TueOct 312017HalloweenObservance 
WedOct 312018HalloweenObservance 
ThuOct 312019HalloweenObservance 
SatOct 312020HalloweenObservance 

Related holidays

Other holidays in October 2014 in Canada

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