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Halloween, Samhain, All Saints' Day
Facts, misinformation, & web site links.

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SkullThe Halloween season of OCT-31 to NOV-2 each year is unique. It contains both an annual secular celebration, and an observance by two very different religions:

bullet A Neopagan Sabbat:
bullet Samhain, is most commonly celebrated on or near the evening of OCT-31 by Wiccans and Neopagans. It's name is often pronounced by religious conservatives as if it were spelled: "SAM HANE." However the correct pronounciation is as if it were spelled: "SOW-WHEN." It was originally a celebration of the final harvest of the growing season among the ancient Celtic people in Europe. They recognized only two seasons a year. Samhain was the end of the warm season, the beginning of the cold season and also the time of their new year celebration.
bullet Three Christian holy days: 
bullet All Saints' Day (a.k.a. All Hallows' Day) on NOV-1. The holiday was first celebrated on 609-MAY-13 CE when Pope Boniface IV dedicated the Pantheon in Rome to the Virgin Mary. The date was later changed to NOV-1 by Pope Gregory III who dedicated a chapel in honor of all saints in the Vatican Basilica. Pope Gregory IV (827-844) later extended the feast to the whole church. Eastern Orthodox churches celebrate All Saints Day in the springtime -- on the Sunday after Pentecost.

All Souls' Day (a.k.a. the Day of the Dead) which is normally celebrated on NOV-2. When NOV-2 is a Sunday, as it was for the year 2004 and for about one in every seven years, the celebration is held on the following Monday. This is a day for prayer and almsgiving in memory of ancestors who have died. Roman Catholic believers pray for the souls of the dead, in an effort to hasten their transition from Purgatory to Heaven. According to Isaac Bonewits, writing for Neopagan Net the day is believed to have been selected by:

"... St. Odilo, [962 - 1049 CE] the fifth abbot of Cluny [in France] because he wanted to follow the example of Cluny in offering special prayers and singing the Office of the Dead on the day following the feast of All Saints."

bullet Some Protestants celebrate Reformation Day. This is the anniversary of 1517-OCT-31 CE, the day that Martin Luther's published his 95 theses. These were criticisms of beliefs and practices of the Roman Catholic church at the time, particularly related to the sale of indulgences. He is widely believed to have published them in a dramatic manner, by nailing them to the door of Castle Church in Wittenberg, Germany. That may never have happened. There is some evidence that he did write a letter to his superiors attacking the sale of indulgences, and that the 95 theses were simply appended to the letter. This triggered the Protestant Reformation, leading to a decades-long war in Europe, enmity between Catholics and Protestants, and the eventual fracture of Christianity into tens of thousands of individual faith groups. 
bullet A secular celebration, Halloween on the evening of OCT-31. In some areas, if OCT-31 falls on a Sunday, Halloween is often celebrated on the evening of Saturday, OCT-30. Stores love Halloween. It is the festival when the largest amount of candy is sold. It is second only to Christmas in total commercial sales. The total sale of costumes, candy and other Halloween material  reached almost $7 billion in 2003. 2 They are expected to reach 9 billion during 2018. A 2008 survey by the National Federation in the U.S., revealed that the average person was spending $66.54 on Halloween activities in 2003. They expect 175 million people in the U.S. to celebrate Halloween in 2018, and spend $86.79 each. 7

There is probably more misinformation circulated about these festivals than about any other annual celebration.

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Halloween topics covered:

bullet Opinions about Halloween:
bullet By the public
bullet By religious groups
bullet Analysis of websites dealing with Halloween:
bullet Four websites
bullet More of the same
bullet Websites describing Halloween accurately
bullet Evangelical Christian beliefs about Halloween
bullet How Evangelicals celebrate the season
bullet Hell houses, Judgment houses. revelation walks, etc.
bullet Neopagan beliefs about Halloween
bulletHalloween customs and traditions Part 1  Part 2
bullet Hoaxes about Halloween:
bullet "Razor blades in the apples" hoax
bullet Ritual abuse and sacrificing black cats
bullet The myth of Samhain: Celtic "god of the dead"

Vaguely related sections in this website:

bullet The Goth culture
bullet Vampyres and vampires
bullet Wicca

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Interesting websites related to Halloween:

bullet The Neverendingwonder Radio Empire broadcasts halloween songs, comedy, musicals, etc. via the Internet. See:
bullet Cards:Many websites allow you to send Halloween cards to friends:
bullet has Halloween cards with a difference. They have 250 free eCards from which you can choose. For each free card sent via Email, Care2 makes a donation to an environmental nonprofit to save a square foot of rainforest! Did I mention they are free? See:
bullet 123 Greetings  at: 
bullet at:
bullet CostumeShaker supplies a broad range of pirate, hero, villan, and other costumes. Their site also includes a variety of Halloween resources such as directory of Halloween attractions, Halloween guides, articles about Halloween history, games, etc. See:
bullet Dana's Designs supplied some icons for our Halloween essays. Thanks, Dana.
bullet Geek Wrapped shows many "badass constume ideas" for Halloween. See:
bullet Glow Inc. sells glow-in-the-dark powders and paints, particularly to the Fun House and Halloween community. See:

Halloween Costumes is "one of the largest retailers of Halloween costumes on the web" Along with accessories, they supply a total of more than 4,000 products. See

bullet Halloween Costumes 4 Kids features children's constumes, kids accessorites, masks, makeup and kids' costume wigs. See:
bullet Halloween Express has an immense variety of adult, kids, TV  & movie and other costumes. See:
bullet Halloween Manor offers a wide variety of costumes for children, teens, and adults. See:
bullet Haunted Fog has foggers (machines that generate fog), lighting products, flyers, Halloween E-Cards,  tombstones and many other products.
bullet The Holiday Spot at  is a place to "celebrate the holidays." They have a well-written history of Halloween at: 

Kids Costumes When it comes to kids and costumes, don't just discard them just because Halloween is over. Kids costumes can become a valued part of play time all year round – kids love to dress as their favorite animal or character at school theme parties and other occasions.

bullet Mr. Costumes has a list of links to online suppliers of Halloween costumes, decorations and party supplies. See:
bullet Pure Costumes carries "... a large selection of Halloween costumes for adults, kids, teens, pre teens - tweens, and plus size, as well as wigs, masks and  accessories. See:

bullet Redstar Fancy Dress: caters for all the big fancy dress events on the calendar from Halloween, Christmas, to World Book Day and St. Patrick's Day. See:

bullet Religious Costumes: Costume Machine is a costume search engine and comparison shopping website. Find your perfect religious costume today.


Star Costumes sells costumes for kids and adults, including Renaissance and theatrical costumes. See:


Wholesale Halloween Costumes sell many varieties of costumes as well as Halloween decorations. See:

References used:

The following information sources were used to prepare and update the above essay. The hyperlinks are not necessarily still active today.

  1. Isaac Bonewits describes "The real origins of Halloween." It is a carefully researched essay at:  He has other well researched essays at:
  2. Geraldine Sealey, "Satan's Big Day? Culture Wars Don't Take a Holiday on Halloween," ABC News, 2003-OCT-31, at: This is now offline.
  3. "Samhain on the Cauldron" discusses the history of Halloween and the Pagan celebration of Samhain. See:
  4. David Beaulieu, "Origins of Halloween, All Hallows' Eve,", at:
  5. "Halloween: Myths, monsters and devils" analyzes the many errors in four essays about Halloween at: When we last checked this web site we received a "suspicious site" warning from McAfee.
  6. Elspeth Sapphire has a pleasant and accurate description of Halloween at:
  7. Kimberly Amadeo, "Halloween Spending Statistics, Facts and Trends," The Balance, 2018-OCT-04, at:

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Home page >  Christianity > Practices > Holy Days > here

Home page > World religions > Wicca > here

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Copyright 1998 to 2018 by Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance
Last update and review: 2018-NOV-01
Author: B.A. Robinson

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