Halloween in Canada

Halloween in 2020 is Saturday, October 31

Halloween is not a statutory holiday but we are dedicating a page to it due to its popularity.

What are you going as?

Do you try and create new Halloween costumes every year or stick with the same theme? Not only do children look forward to dressing up but adults are increasingly getting into the spirit of Halloween and there are those of us who even dress up our pets.  There is a lot to consider when you are expected to provide costumes for the whole household.

It seems Halloween costumes don’t always need to be scary and ghoulish as many children want to dress up as super heros or pop stars. Dressing baby up as a junior jedi is a popular choice and see how many dogs you can spot this year dressed up as Frankenstein’s bride.

When it comes to actually making or buying the costumes you need to decide if you are going to go with the scary and ghoulish theme or the "anything goes" theme. There are no rules decreeing your children go out looking like they are straight from a horror movie. The fun part is just simply dressing up. As a result the costume industry is growing and this year is no exception - you'll see ads for costumes starting early September.

Tips for Pumpkin Carving

  • Use large pumpkins, they are easier to hollow out and deal with.
  • To make the pumpkin last longer once it’s been carved, rub all the cut edges with something emollient like sunflower oil or even good old petroleum jelly (remember, never to eat a pumpkin that’s been used as a Jack O’Lantern).
  • Always carve the top with the knife slanted at a forty five degree angle, this means that the lid will always have a proper place to sit when it is replaced.
  • Cut off the bottom of the pumpkin as well as the top, this will make it more stable.
  • When the pumpkin is lit, leave the lid off to stop any chance of it catching fire – some people prefer a flameless battery operated candle for this reason.
  • You could put a few drops of essential oil in the bottom of the pumpkin to make it smell fresh and clean and scent your home.
  • When attempting to carve a face onto the pumpkin draw a template on paper first, stick it on and then gently score with a knife before attempting to cut it in properly.

Pumpkin carving is another Celtic tradition, coming from Ireland. It’s believed to relate to the story of an Irishman called Stingy Jack who played tricks on everyone he knew, including the devil himself.

He made a compromise with the devil that he would leave him alone and cease his game playing, if the devil agreed to save his soul on death. However, when he died, the devil reneged and he wasn’t allowed into heaven. He was even turned away from the gates of hell. The devil gave him a hollowed out turnip with a flame inside to carry through darkness for all eternity.

The Irish adopted this idea and used different vegetables, carved with faces and hollowed out to hold burning coals, to ward off evil spirits. When immigration into the US started, pumpkins became the most popular choice to use for carving and candles were used to replace the burning coals.

Short history of Halloween

In Canada Halloween is traditionally celebrated on October 31. It has an interesting historical background behind the bowls of candy and wierd and wonderful outfits.

According to Celtic beliefs the spirits of the dead are able to pass through into the living world on the night of October 31. They believed that spirits and ghosts of the dead could visit from the underworld and harm the living or take them back with them. Apparently people dressed up as spirits and ghosts if they ventured out on this night in the hope that this would confuse the visiting spirits and thwart their intentions.

It was also thought that these spirits could bring messages to the living and on October 31. Other unusual customs were also carried out on this night such as unmarried girls pouring molten lead into water to see what shape it formed which might be a clue to their future husband’s profession.

Share your holiday story, idea or comments

Boo! What are you doing around Halloween this year?

Post your comments

Posted by JFG:

Don't think I'll carve me a puking pumpkin this year.

Posted by Good Citizen:

Celebrating evil ghosts by wearing sculls, skeletons, death attributes - I never understood what people find so particularly exciting about their own ultimate demise.

Posted by E.A.S:

I wish spirits and ghosts take my boss with them next year.

Posted by Craig McNaught:

I've traveled and lived outside Canada for a while now. Hallowe'en is great fun, but it is not practiced with much interest outside North America. Here is Asia, they sell Hallowe'en treats and costumes in the stores that cater to the ex-Pats. Same thing for St. Patricks' Day. Doesn't really catch on here.

Posted by Raphael:

I tried to get the day off, My boss didn't allow. I'm going to scare him :D

Posted by Babs:

I've never been one to scare or be scared so I've never celebrated Halloween, I'd rather see Harvest being celebrated seeing as how much this country has! It seems more positive for children and all people alike..thanks for letting me share


Halloween is a great day to be daring....Dress up, have your kids over for a Halloween dinner dressed in something and play a board game. Nice excuse for getting in some fun family time :)

Posted by Sally:

Last year I was a sasquatch and it honestly was waaaaaaay better than I thought it would be. I did, however, drop a knife on my foot while I was carving pumpkins...so NOT reccommended. I think kids should get to pick whether this becomes a proper stat or not and they get my vote every time. So much blood from foot, prolly not bothering with halloween 2017! Boo!

Posted by Michael Myers:

Halloween is not a holiday, nor should it be. However it is the one of the BEST season's to celebrate. It should not be moved to the last Saturday of October (should always be Oct 31st)as some have suggested. That's just dumb.

Posted by Janet:

I don't see why Canadians even celebrate Halloween. I read the Celtic origins of it and it's obviously of evil origins. When I was a small child I was afraid of the people that came to the door dresses as witches and ghosts, etc. I did not want to force my children to do it either. Canada has many wonderful legitimate holidays during the year. We could certainly do without this one that's scary for children and also gives them so much candy at one time that it's ridiculous. I kindly give candy to the children that come to my door but that's all. Thanks for letting me share!

Posted by tammy:

I'm 38 years old and I still dress up and go out for holloween. There's not age required. My kids think its great and I have lots of fun. Life's to short I'll enjoy it while I'm here.

Posted by MooCow:

I'm 33 this year and I dressed up for the first time in a long, long time. I dressed up as a cow and that's how I showed up at our daycare when I dropped my daughter off. Kids loved it! Moo ;-)

Feedback & ideas