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by Dr Leo Ruickbie

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Hallowe'en / Halloween

What is Hallowe'en (Halloween)? Witchology.com explains the history, traditions and superstitions, from the origins of Hallowe'en in the Celtic Samhain to the traditional spells of Hallowe'en:

Hallowe'en / Halloween

Known as Hallowe'en (UK spelling), Halloween (US spelling), or Samhain, the 31st of October is a traditional Pagan holy day and Witches' Sabbath. Explore the following links to find out more about this magical time of year.
Hallowe'en Contents

Hallowe'en Interview

Kate Whiting talks to a witchcraft expert to find out more about the original pagan festival and how you can recreate a more traditional Halloween.
Hallowe'en Interview

Origins of Hallowe'en

Hallowe'en, All Hallows, or All Hallows' Eve, this is an ancient Pagan holy day, corrupted by Christians. Find out how they did it and why.
Origins of Hallowe'en

What is Samhain?

Samhain is the Celtic New Year. It means "Summer's End". Traditions differ, but it is usually pronounced...
What is Samhain

Hallowe'en Spells

Hallowe'en is undoubtedly the most magical time of the year in many people's minds, but do you know what special, seasonal spells are traditionally cast? This time of year requires a certain sort of magic.
Hallowe'en Spells and Magic

A Wiccan Hallowe'en

"Eko, eko, Azarak... Dread Lord of the Shadows..." How do Wiccans celebrate Hallowe'en? Do they even call it Hallowe'en?
A Wiccan Hallowe'en

Hallowe'en Misinformation

Samhain is not the Celtic God of Death. Hallowe'en is not a festival of evil. These and other common misunderstandings explained, and misinformation refuted.
Hallowe'en Misinformation

Hallowe'en Traditions

What are the origins of "Trick or Treat"? Dressing up, love oracles, pumpkins, Jack-O-Lanterns and footsteps of the dead... Find out more about the old folk traditions of Hallowe'en.
Hallowe'en Traditions

Hallowe'en Near You

Want to go to a Hallowe'en party or a Samhain ritual? The Witchology event guide brings together the spookiest destinations across the world. Find out where the nearest magical Hallowe'en event to you is with one click here.
Hallowe'en Events Guide

Hallowe'en on the Internet

What are the hot search trends this Hallowe'en (Halloween)? Read our report to find out who's typing what into Google for 31 October.
Hallowe'en on the Internet

Hallowe'en Gift Ideas

It's Hallowe'en and I don't have a thing to wear? Need some seasonal gift ideas? You won't find these unique designs in the shops.
Hallowe'en Gifts

Hallowe'en in Your Inbox

Don't have time to read all of this now? Want a copy to read later? Add your email to our mailing list and we'll send you this page and all the Hallowe'en (Halloween) information on the Witchology.com website.

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Free Hallowe'en Downloads

History of Hallowe'en
Find out about the history and meaning of Hallowe'en (Halloween) and Samhain. Based on a Press Association interview with Dr Leo Ruickbie in 2008.
Download pdf (540kb)

Hallowe'en / Halloween Spells
Hallowe'en is traditionally a time of spells and magic. Learn more about these old seasonal charms and modern Wiccan spellcraft for Samhain.
Download gif (352kb)
Download pdf (461kb)
More free downloads

Books for Hallowe'en:

History of Witchcraft BookOpen Source WiccaHistories of the Barbarians
Beowulf

Witchcraft to Go:


Witchcraft Out of the Shadows

Click here for more designs

Halloween and Samhain at Witchology Hallowe'en / Halloween / Samhain

Known as Hallowe'en (UK spelling), Halloween (US spelling), or Samhain, the 31st of October is a traditional Pagan holy day and Witches' Sabbath. Explore the following links to find out more about this magical time of year.

Hallowe'en Traditions

From "Trick or Treat" to Hallowe'en Children

Introduction

What are the origins of "Trick or Treat"? Why do people dress up? Why pumpkins? What are Jack-O-Lanterns? Did you know this was a time for love divinations?

Many old traditions and superstitions connected with this night still survive. Although grossly misrepresented in the slasher film series of the same name, Hallowe'en retains much of its ancient Pagan charm. And despite concerted efforts each year by misguided Christians to ban it, Hallowe'en continues to grow.

Trick or Treat?

Dressing up as witches, ghosts and ghouls, and asking for presents in return for some brief cabaret, usually a song, is called Guising. Note that some sort of act is expected. Only relatively recently has this ancient custom degenerated into a demand with menaces. The term "Trick or Treat" is American in origin and believed only to have gained general usage in the US in the 1930's.

Footsteps of the Dead

In Ireland there is a belief that if you should hear footsteps behind you on this night, then you should not turn round. For the footsteps are those of one of the dead and if you should turn and see this departed soul then you will soon join it.

Pumpkins and the Jack O'Lantern (US: Jack-O-Lantern)

The fierce faced lanterns carved out of pumpkins and, in colder climates where pumpkins are rare, turnips, are apotropaic charms intended to ward off evil spirits and protect traveller and household from harm. An unconfirmed explanation for the name Jack O'Lantern is that there was a certain Irishman called Jack who was unable to enter either heaven or hell and thus wandered the night with only his turnip lantern for light, hence Jack O'Lantern, or Jack of the Lantern. But where he got the lantern and why he chose a turnip have yet to be explained.

Hazelnut Love Divination

A girl might divine who her future husband was going to be by lining up hazelnuts in front of the fire, each of which represented one of the boys that was wooing her. She would then chant, "If you love me, pop and fly. If you hate me, burn and die."

Water Love Divination

Another tradition from America instructs the curious girl to take a lamp and go out on the night of Hallowe'en to a spring of water and peering in she should see the reflection of her future husband.

Dooking, or Bobbing for Apples

It has been suggested that the game of Dooking, or Bobbing for Apples, in which a person must catch apples floating in a basin with his teeth is a forgotten survival of the Pagan 'baptism' ritual of seining.

Hallowe'en Children

Those born on Hallowe'en are thought to possess the second sight.

Further Reading

More Hallowe'en from Witchology.com

Hallowe'en (Halloween) in Your Inbox

Don't have time to read all of this now? Want a copy to read later? Add your email to our mailing list and we'll send you this page and all the Hallowe'en (Halloween) information on the Witchology.com website.

Find out more about our mailing list

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