Halloween Food, Traditions, and Origins

Halloween is a holiday celebrated in Canada, Ireland and the United States. It occurs annually on October 31st. This history behind Halloween starts in Ireland with the ancient Celtic festival of Samhain where people would have bonfires and dress up in costumes to scare off ghosts. Later in the eighth century, Pope Gregory III declared All Saints Day to occur annually on November 1st. The night before, All Hallows Eve, later evolved into what people know of as Halloween. Many of the original traditions were lost as now the holiday mainly consists of carving pumpkins and trick-or-treating.

Image of a bonfire burning
Bonfire, Hevdg123


Halloween’s roots all started in Ireland with the festival Samhain, “end of summer.” Many traditions started here and are now exercised in other countries. Bonfires to keep away evil spirits, costumes to trick spirits walking among them, and trick or treating where the poor would go door to door asking the rich for money or food are a few examples. Traditional Irish Halloween foods are colcannon, Irish stew, and boxty.

United States and Canada

This holiday is most prominent in Canada and the United States. People go all out with their costumes, decorations, and most importantly, carving pumpkins! Very often people set out their finished pumpkin carvings and use the extras to make varieties of pumpkin dishes. These dishes range from pumpkin pie to roasted pumpkin seeds. But Halloween isn’t just celebrated there, many countries have similar versions of this holiday.


Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) is celebrated in the beginning of November in Mexico. This holiday is centered around celebrating those who have passed by building altars with food and other gifts. Traditional foods include pan de muerto (day of the dead bread), calaveras de azucar (sugar skulls), and calabaza en dulce (candied pumpkin).

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