Halloween for kids

Halloween is the scariest night of the year but is enjoyed by children of all ages. From carving pumpkins to trick or treating, it’s a festival filled with ghosts, ghouls, witches and warewolves.

Halloween for Kids

The history and traditions of the scary festival of Halloween.

See our calender of celebrations and religious holidays for kids here.

What is Halloween?

Halloween is a festival that falls on the 31st of October each year. Full of tradition and superstition, Halloween is a night to celebrate the paranormal. With traditions stretching back thousands of years, this festival has a scary history. Now a popular holiday, Halloween is celebrated in many countries around the world and adults and kids alike create or buy costumes and celebrate all things spooky.

The history of Halloween

Halloween dates back to the ancient Celtic festival of Samhain (pronounced sow-in). Celts settled into the areas that are now Ireland, the United Kingdom and France. Celts’ New Year was on the 1st of November as this signified the end of summer and harvest and the beginning of Winter. Samhain fell on the day before the New Year and the Celts believed that during this day the boundaries between the living and the dead were blurred. It was believed the ghosts of the dead revisited earth to cause trouble and damage crops.

The Celts believed the presence of the spirits made it easier for the Druids or Celtic Priests to predict the future. To celebrate the event, they built huge bonfires where they burnt crops and animal sacrificies. They dressed in costumes made from animal heads and skins. After the festival, they relit their hearth fires, extinguished earlier that evening, with the flames from the sacred bonfire to protect them throughout the winter.

The Roman Empire conquered the majority of Celtic lands and in time Roman celebrations were collaborated with Samhain. Feralia, a festival to honour the passing of the dead and secondly, a festival to honour Pomona, the Roman Goddess of fruit and trees. Pomona’s symbol was the apple, which could explain why we bob for apples now.

Finally, the Catholic All Souls Day was encorporated to Samhain and many people believe the church was trying to replace the Celtic festival of the dead with a church sanctioned holiday. All Saints Day was also known as All-Hallows or All-Hallowmans and the day before it, the traditional date of Samhain known as All-Hallows Eve and eventually, Halloween.

How do families celebrate?

Halloween is a holiday full of frights and fun for all of the family. Celebrations are enjoyed in several countries around the world. Celebrations include:

  • family and friend gatherings
  • fancy dress and costumes
  • Carving pumpkins
  • spooky decorations
  • spooky music
  • ghost stories
  • bonfires
  • trick or treating
  • gifts of sweets
  • open doors for children to collect sweets

Watch a video on trick or treat safety

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=57XJgwiDcoo[/youtube]

Halloween costume ideas

Halloween costumes range widely from scary to favourite movie characters. Many people believe in keeping to traditional costumes like skeletons, witches, ghosts and ghouls but a modern theme is dressing as iconic movie characters or humourous costumes. Group costumes are also an ever increasing occurance for Halloween parties and celebrations.

If you are going to a family party or trick or treating, why not go as a family, e.g. The Incredibles

Halloween costumes for babies are popular and no matter how scary the concept, seem to always end up adorable and cute. Here is some inspiration for your baby’s Halloween costume.

Planning a Halloween party

If you are planning a haunted Halloween party for your little monsters, here are a few things to keep in mind:

  1. Creepy decorations. Ask your children to help you create some scary decorations for your house. Think bats, skeletons, spiders and blood. Cobwebs are a great touch to make any home look haunted!
  2. Halloween games are a must to keep your children entertained. Here are 10 great games for Halloween parties.
  3. Scary songs or background music will help set the scene for a great party.
  4. Themed foods like witches fingers sausages or cobweb cupcakes will appeal to all ages.
  5. If you’re thinking of making a fruit punch for everyone to enjoy, make it in a witches cauldron to make it extra spooky. A couple of days before the party, take a rubber glove and fill it with water and red food colouring and stick it in the freezer. On the day of the party, peel the glove from the ice and pop it into the punch bowl for a bloody ice hand!

More Halloween inspiration

Photograph: Greg Westfall @Flickr

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