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Canada´s Halloween Traditions

By Erika DCT | October 14, 2022
While we may have just talked about one of Canada’s biggest holidays in our last article – Canadian Thanksgiving, there is another holiday that Canadians love to celebrate in October, Halloween! While not an official holiday, Halloween is very popular in Canada and the US, though a lot less known in other parts of the world.
If you aren’t familiar with Halloween, let us give you a brief overview. Halloween was originally known as All Hallows Eve, which got its name from All Hallows Day. This is the day many cultures spend remembering friends and family who have been lost in years past. While All Hallows day is a more sombre day of reflection and remembrance, Halloween is much more of a celebration. There are many ways Canadians celebrate Halloween. Our current traditions often date back hundreds, if not thousands of years and we’ll give you a quick overview below.
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A comparison of historical vs. modern Halloween traditions

Historical

Modern

1000’s of years ago pagans wear costumes when trying ot summon spirits on what is now Halloween. They wore costumes so the ghosts couldn’t recognize them and haunt them once summoned.

Children and adults dress up in scary-looking costumes (ghosts, murdered people and fantasy creatures) in order to try and scare people.

Pagans carved scary faces and features on different types of squash in an effort to help keep away angry spirits that they summoned from the afterlife.

We carve scary faces and creatures onto the front of pumpkins and put candles inside to light them up at night to make our houses scary.

In more recent history it is said that children would go door to door asking for Soul Cakes – similar to a biscuit which was a tradition for All Hallows Day.

Children go door to door around their neighbourhood, dressed in scary costumes and askfor treats by shouting “Trick or Treat!” at the front doors of houses

 

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Nowadays there are even more ways people celebrate Halloween. Most notably, people will decorate their houses to look scary (like a house that looks like someone died there or is full of ghosts). Many people also go to Halloween-themed carnivals, complete with haunted houses and other scary rides to enjoy.

If you are visiting western Canada during the later weeks of October, you’ll be able to find lots of scary, Halloween-themed tours and activities. One such popular activity you’ll find in many towns is Ghost-walking tours. Whether you are in Vancouver or Banff, you’ll be able to find a walking tour that specialises in telling scary stories drawn from the town’s real history! One huge annual event in Vancouver is Hallowed Eves in Playland at the PNE. This exhibition transforms itself into a scary Halloween-themed experience, with thrill rides and live performances of scary characters throughout the park!

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For those of you who like to put a scary spin on your travels in western Canada, look no further than Discover Canada Tours’ Rockies Explorer Tour – Halloween Special Edition. As a special treat, guests on our Rockies Explorer tour on October 28, will enjoy a unique dinner in Banff and a stop at the Peter Murray Farm near Kamloops, BC. This farm features a traditional corn maze (don’t get lost!) and you’ll be able to wander in their great Pumpkin Patch to see where those scary squashes come from!

We hope you are excited about your trip to western Canada in October and are ready for some scary fun!

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Written by Lucas Coldwell. Photos courtesy of ©Lisanne Smeele, ©Erika Balogova, ©RDV Tours ©Unseen Histories via Unsplash