You may have noticed that many folks are decorating their houses with skeletons, graves, spider webs, and carved pumpkins, and stores are filled with costumes of many sorts. It’s nearly time for Halloween. Halloween is celebrated October 31st every year in many parts of the world. Canadians, generally, assume that everyone celebrates Halloween, but, for many new to Canada, there is a question of how to participate.
Halloween originated in Ireland. Marking the end of the harvest season and the beginning of the dark half of the year. This evening before the Christian holy days of All Hallows Day, or Saints Day, grew out of an ancient Gaelic festival of Samhain – meaning Summer’s End. Celt’s believed that on Samhain, the walls between our world and the spirit world became thin enough to allow ghosts to pass through and damage their crops. To prevent this, people would build bonfires, burn crops and sacrifice animals to the gods; as well as carve pumpkins to ward off spirits.
During the festivities, the poor would visit houses of wealthier families to receive pastries called soul cakes in exchange for a promise to pray for the homeowners’ dead relatives. As time went on, young people began to dress up in costume and perform songs, poems, or jokes in exchange for fruit and nuts.
Immigrants brought this tradition to North American in the 1900s where it became known as ‘Trick-or-Treating.’ Youth would call at houses during Halloween with threats of pranks if they were not provided with a small gift. Fast forward to present day Trick-or-Treating, children visit houses in their neighbourhoods to receive a piece of candy.
If you are new to Canada, and you would like to learn more about this celebration, you can visit any of the following libraries to learn more through their planned activities:
The Surrey Libraries are hosting a Halloween Special with spooky, funny stories, and a dance party on October 30th.
The Vancouver Public Libraries has an adult-specific event with renowned local storytellers Mary Gavan, Shane Sable and Michael Slade to petrify you with blood-chilling tales of the macabre and supernatural. Costumes are encouraged and goosebumps are guaranteed!
A misunderstood boy takes on ghosts, zombies, and grown-ups to save his town from a centuries-old curse.
The Burnaby Public Library is offering Halloween Origami for Adults. Learn how to make origami ghosts, cats, ninjas, tombstones and more!
The Fraser Valley Regional Library will host a spooktacular storytime and Halloween craft program. They will read not too spooky stories and have a happy Halloween time. Costumes are welcome!
The Coquitlam Public Library is offering a Halloween Escape Room Kids age 10 and up where they can test their wits—and nerves—while puzzling their way out of devilishly devised escape room.
Here’s wishing you a spooktacularly good time this Halloween!