Halloween- Need to know questions
When is Halloween
Halloween is celebrated annually on the 31st October.
When is Halloween 2020
Halloween 2020 will be celebrated on Saturday, 31st October 2020.
Popular Halloween Activities
Trick or Treating
Watching Scary Movies
Dressing up in Halloween Costumes
Eating Chocolate, Sweets
Where does Halloween come From / How did Halloween Start?
Halloween originated from an ancient Celtic festival called Samhain. Samhain was the day the Celts used to mark the end of Summer and the start of the cold winter which often contributed to an increase in human deaths. Samhain was celebrated on November 1st and it was their belief that at midnight which marked the official start of Samhain the line between living and death became blurred. This superstition developed over the years and many would believe that on October 31st ghosts of those passed would return to earth for one day.
Celts believed that the spirits would help predict how the upcoming harvest would be and how the Celtic people would survive the winter. In general, they were a very superstitious people who firmly believed in the power of their local Druids and priests’ ability to communicate with the dead. As a result, Druids started building large bonfire on October 31st and the Celtic people would offer sacrifices in the form of crops or animals to try and please the spirits and learn more about the upcoming year. During the bonfire festival Celts would dress up in animal skins and tell each other’s fortune. Then when Samhain was over the Celts would line up and took some fire back from the sacred druid bonfire to set their own fires as they believed this special fire would protect their homes during the winter.
In 43AD The Romans conquered the majority of the Celtic Land and as a result traditions and festivals were adapted to fit ancient Roman traditions too. Samhain was combined with Feralia and Pomona. Feralia was a day at the end of October where the Romans would remember the dead and pay homage to those passed and Pomona was the Roman goddess of fruit and trees. In modern day Halloween traditions, you can see some ancient Roman traditions such as Pomona who’s ancient symbol was the apple and today a popular Halloween activity is apple bobbing.
All Saints Day and it’s relevance to Halloween
All Saints Day is celebrated on November 1st after Pope Gregory III expanded the festival to include the honouring of not just Christian martyrs but also all saints. Different takes on Samhain and Halloween still partook on the day before All Saints Day.
All Saints Day was often referred to as All-hallows. It was from this that the term Halloween was developed.
With people travelling slightly more to different neighbourhoods they were taking their traditions with them. Thus Halloween became adopted by the Europeans and Americans in very different ways. In New England there was resistance to adopt Halloween because New England was predominantly a Protestant city and Halloween has a lot of religious connotations but in Maryland and the South of American Halloween and All Saints Day were almost instantly appreciated.
The Europeans and Americans adopted Halloween but made it their own through different celebrations. First there were large celebrations where people would come together and play games, share stories about the dead, dance and sing and they would similar to the Celts tell each others fortune.
It wasn’t until the end of the 19th century that Halloween really took off. The increase in Halloweens popularity was due to an increase in immigrants going to America to survive after their home (Ireland) became inhospitable due to the Irish Potato Famine.
Halloween and the History of Trick or Treating
A Halloween tradition from England was to dress up in costumes and knock on neighbours’ doors asking for money or food. This tradition was later known as trick or treating.
After a long reign of Halloween being about the dead and honouring ghosts as Americans believed that Halloween was becoming a frightening tradition. As a result, in mid 1800s Halloween became a holiday for both Children and Adults who would spend the day playing games and seasonal foods whilst still donning costumes. Due to this shift Halloween lost a lot of the superstitious undertones by the 20th century.
All about Halloween Parties
In the 1920s there were large Halloween parades and community parties which would feature elaborate designs. However, some of the naughtier members of community chose to try and vandalize the floats and costumes used during the parade.
Due to a big effort by schools and town leaders vandalism had been limited by the 1950s and at the same time Halloween was becoming a more children focused holiday. Trick or treating became very popular amongst children and they would walk door to door saying trick or treat, in theory neighbors could avoid any trick or vandalism by providing some Halloween Chocolate or Halloween Sweets. It was at this point that Halloween had begun the popular holiday we know today, the holiday that behind Christmas that is the most marketed and is responsible for the most amount of revenue than any others.
Whilst Halloween did shift away from the superstitious, slightly scary holiday it once was. Many still enjoy spending Halloween in scary mazes or sharing ghost stories but the most popular way people try and scare themselves is through Halloween movies. A few of the most popular Halloween movies are:
- Hocus Pocus: A more funny Halloween movie about a boy who accidentally awakens a group of witches who had been executed years ago.
- Halloween: One of the most popular Halloween Movie, Halloween is a terrifying tale about an old murder and how the murderer escapes his mental hospital with the sole aim of killing again. Halloween was such a popular Halloween movie that it was re shot in 2018 almost fifty years after its original release.
- The Nightmare Before Christmas: Whilst a lot of Halloween movies are designed to scare, the nightmare before Christmas is an animated movie for children. The King of Halloween Town discovers a neighboring village Christmas Town and when trying to adopt Christmas into his Town he is met with resistance.
- Trick or Treat: Another terrifying movie about seemingly ‘normal’ citizens and the double lives they lead.
- The Addams Family: A classic Halloween movie which also happens to be one of the most popular movies to dress up as.
- Casper: Inspired by the original Halloween and how it was a day that ghosts would visit, Casper the friendly ghost meets a human and together they try and banish other evil spirits.
- The Conjuring: At the top of the Halloween movie requirements is paranormal undertones and The Conjuring is a terrifying take on the dark sinister presences.
- IT: One of the most recent popular scary Halloween movies is about a group of bullied kids who try and prove their bravery by destroying an evil monster who hides as a clown.
- Twitches: Disney continues to offer great tween friendly Halloween movies such as this movie about twin witches who are separated at birth and need to come together in order to save their home.
- Scary Movies: A parody taking the sinister seriousness of Scary Halloween Movies and turning it on its head. The Scary Movie franchise features high profile celebrities playing hilarious versions of originally scary Halloween characters.
Halloween Traditions Around the World
Ireland is where Halloween originated due to the ancient Celtic tradition of Samhain. In modern times both Ireland and Scotland celebrate Halloween similarly to Samhain with bonfires and traditional food such as the Irish Fruitcake which is filled with various objects such as coins, buttons and rings which are believed tell ones fortune. Rings mean marriage is on the horizons, coins mean wealth is coming your way in the future.
Mexico and some parts of Latin America celebrate their version of Halloween called Dia De Los Muertos which for many is an incredibly important holiday where they honour the dead. Like Samhaim those that celebrate the day of the dead believe that on October 31st the spirits of those passed returns to be reunited with loved ones for one day. The more traditional Latinos believe that on October 31st it is the children that return for a day and November 2nd is when the spirits of adults come down to earth for a day.
Romanians celebrate the Day of Dracula, Count Dracula is a long-standing fictional story about a vampire who was said to live in Transylvania, Romania. On The Day of Dracula it is more of a tourist holiday where people can visit Count Dracula’s castle for the day.
A more recent Halloween tradition is called Kawasaki Halloween Parade which has only been around for the past 21years. Kawasaki Halloween features ornately dressed Halloween enthusiast who gather in Tokyo for the biggest parade in Japan. With strict regulations, people have to apply to be apart of the parade, so you know those accepted will have the best of the best costumes.
The Philippine Halloween tradition is called Pangangaluluwa where children in costumes will knock on neighbours doors and sing and ask that they pray for those suffering. Whilst traditionally that it what happened with more western influencers, Pangangaluluwa has adopted more of trick or treating approach.
In Hong Kong their take on Halloween is called The Hungry Ghost Festival where a festival is held with lots of offerings of food and money. Many believe that around mid August-mid September those passed get restless and the festival is designed to help give them peace.
India’s Halloween festival is called Pitru Paksha which is a 16 day festival during the Hindu lunar month of Bhadrapada. Hindus believes that when a loved one passed their god of death Yama takes their spirit to where their other ancestors are. It is during Pitru Paksha that Yama allows these spirits to visit their families in Earth. In order for your loved ones spirits to be released you have to partake in Shraddha, a fire ritual. Shraddha is when families offer the decreased sweet rice and milk, banana leaves, pumpkins and lentils.
In Poland, they celebrate Halloween by travelling to cemeteries to visit their loved ones who have passed. Often they will light candles, lay flowers and pray for those who have died.
Nigeria’s Awuru Odo Festival is their Halloween, it when Nigerians will done traditional costumes with masks and will host large community feasts with music and celebrate the departed.
Buddhist families gather end of September to mid October to celebrate their Halloween called Pchum Ben. Pchum Ben is when Buddhists visit temples and offer flowers, sticky rice and banana leaves as a symbol of respect for their ancestors.
Fun Halloween Facts
Halloween is a cultural mashup: Halloween over the years has become completely different for each Country. With many taking traditions from other religions or games that countries play and make their own Halloween.
Halloween Costumes: Originally people used Halloween Costumes as a way to hide from the spirits who would visit for 24hrs. People used to believe that masks were a way or blending in with spirits.
Pumpkin Lanterns: Lanterns used to be carved out of turnips not pumpkins.
Cats are a Halloween staple: Cats have long been linked to Halloween due to their association with witches and in ancient Celtic traditions druids believed that cats could help predict the future.
The term bonfire came about due to during Samhain priests would lit large fires and would through animal bones in the fire as a sacrifice. Thus the term bone – fire.
Halloween and Romance- Even with the stereotypical scary Halloween connotations there are some romantic elements which have largely faded from modern day Halloween celebrations. In America, it used to mean that whoever first picked an apple during the popular bobbing for apples game would be the first to marry.
Halloweens traditional colours are orange and black- The reason for this is due to Autumns changing leaves.
Halloween Games and Activities
- Jack-o-lanterns or pumpkin carving
- Spooky, ghost stories
- Halloween Costumes
- Trick or Treating
- Black Cats
- Apple Bobbing
- Black and Orange
- Bonfires and Candles
- Sweets and Chocolate
Popular Halloween Costumes Ideas for Women
- Princess Leia from Star Wars
- Daenerys Targaryen from Game of Thrones
- Shuri from Black Panther
- A skeleton
- Wednesday Addams from The Addams Family
- Sandy from Grease / Any of the pink ladies
- One of the Hocus Pocus witches
- Harley Quinn from Suicide Squad
- Wonder Woman
- Power Ranger
- Mia Wallace from Pulp Fiction
Popular Halloween Costume Ideas for Men
- FBI agent
- Maverick from Top Gun
- Austin Powers
- Ron Burgundy from Anchorman
- Peaky Blinders
- Will Smith from The Fresh Prince of Bel Air
- Freddie Mercury
- Tony Manero from Saturday Night Fever
- James Bond
Popular Halloween Costumes for Kids
- Captain Marvel
- Where’s Waldo
- Micky or Minnie Mouse
- Woody from Toy Story
- Baby Shark
- Winnie the Pooh
Popular Couple Halloween Costume Ideas
- Bonnie and Clyde
- Sonnie and Cher
- Men in Black
- Gomez and Morticia Addams from The Addams Family
- Mr and Mrs Incredible
- Batman and Robin
- Vincent Vega and Mia Wallace from Pulp Fiction
- Skeleton Bride and Groom
- Peanut Butter and Jelly
Radley Halloween Bags we Love
If you’re going out celebrating on Halloween whether this be trick or treating with the kids or to a dressing up party the bag of choice has to be a backpack. On Halloween you have to carry so much, from all the candy to parts of your costume and it can be an issue without the proper bag. So we’ve tailored a list of our favourite backpacks which will help you to enjoy Halloween this year.
Opt for this large backpack from our Mini Me collection for those days when you want to go hands-free. Crafted from nylon fabric, this zip around backpack is finished with a trend-led netted back and multiple pockets to the front where you can store all your essentials.
Made for a busy lifestyle, this large Tech Street backpack will become your new favourite work to weekend accessory, offering a hands-free design that’ll make travelling simple. Finished with contrast leather piping details for a fresh feel, this style has plenty of space to store your laptop, tablet and daily essentials too.
A style staple for work and weekends; our medium Crown Hill backpack is thoughtfully designed with ample space and multiple pockets to maximise its practicality. Whether you’re exploring a new city or commuting to the office, its beautifully soft leather silhouette will complement every situation – and outfit. Chic yet simple, the fuss-free accessory is a future favourite.
The perfect balance of pretty and practical, this backpack from our Leopard Oilskin collection will have you looking stylish on your daily commute. The playfully printed design features a fresh take on the animal print with Radley London branding, and the zip top pouch is perfect for fitting in the things you need for the day ahead. With plenty of space to store your tablet and daily essentials, this large backpack will become your new favourite work to weekend accessory.