Halloween, Samhain, All Saints' Day.
Facts, misinformation, & web site links.
The 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:
||A Neopagan Sabbat:|
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.
||Three Christian holy days: |
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
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
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." 1
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
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.
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.
Vaguely related sections in this website:
Interesting websites related to Halloween:
The Neverendingwonder Radio Empire broadcasts halloween songs, comedy,
musicals, etc. via the Internet. See:
||Cards:Many websites allow you to send Halloween cards to friends:|
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: http://costumeshaker.co.uk/|
Dana's Designs supplied some icons
for our Halloween essays. Thanks, Dana.|
Geek Wrapped shows many "badass constume ideas" for Halloween. See: https://www.geekwrapped.com/|
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 http://www.halloweencostumes.com
Halloween Costumes 4 Kids features children's constumes, kids accessorites, masks, makeup and kids' costume wigs. See: http://halloweencostumes4kids.com/ |
Halloween Express has an immense variety of adult, kids, TV &
movie and other costumes. See:
Halloween Manor offers a wide variety of costumes for
children, teens, and adults. See:
Haunted Fog has foggers (machines that generate fog), lighting products, flyers, Halloween
E-Cards, tombstones and many other products.|
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.
Mr. Costumes has a list of links to online suppliers of Halloween
costumes, decorations and party supplies. See: http://www.mrcostumes.com/|
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:
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: http://www.redstarfancydress.com/|
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: http://www.starcostumes.com/
Wholesale Halloween Costumes sell many varieties of costumes as well as Halloween decorations. See: http://www.wholesalehalloweencostumes.com
The following information sources were used to prepare and update the above
essay. The hyperlinks are not necessarily still active today.
Isaac Bonewits describes "The real origins of Halloween." It is
a carefully researched essay at:
http://www.neopagan.net/ He has other well researched essays at:
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.
"Samhain on the Cauldron" discusses the history of Halloween and
the Pagan celebration of Samhain. See: http://www.ecauldron.net/
David Beaulieu, "Origins of Halloween, All Hallows' Eve," About.com, at:
"Halloween: Myths, monsters and devils" analyzes the many
errors in four essays about Halloween at:
http://www.featherlessbiped.com/ When we last checked this web site we received a "suspicious site" warning from McAfee.
Elspeth Sapphire has a pleasant and accurate description of Halloween at:
Kimberly Amadeo, "Halloween Spending Statistics, Facts and Trends," The Balance, 2018-OCT-04, at: https://www.thebalance.com/
Copyright © 1998 to 2018 by Ontario Consultants
on Religious Tolerance
Last update and review: 2018-NOV-01
Author: B.A. Robinson