October is the month when many Dublin houses, stores, and streets get decorated for Halloween as a tradition in many countries. The holiday originates from the Celts in Ireland, who carried the celebration to other parts of the world. If this is your first Halloween, here in Ireland, there are a few rituals you should be aware of, especially if you want to celebrate like the locals. Here are some tips about the Irish traditions for Halloween, and the history behind this celebration:

How the original tradition started?

The Celts first arrived in Ireland around the year 500BC and brought with them many beliefs that spread across the whole country and became a folklore. Some of the rituals were the seasonal festivals, that used to happen 4 times per year. One of those celebrations was the pagan festival of Samhain, held every year to celebrate the end of the harvest and the beginning of the winter, on the night of October 31st. According to the Celts tradition, at this time of year, the connection between the living world and the so-called ‘Otherworld’ was less rigid, and they gathered to celebrate with food and drink, aspiring for a good and safe winter, for the spirits and the living ones.

Things started to change when Christianity came to Ireland, round 100 years later and brought with it a wave of cultural change. Over time, as Christian traditions were more adopted by the Irish people, the Gaelic festival of Samhain mixed with the Christian celebrations of All Saints’ Day and All Souls’ Day, creating what we now call Halloween

Why Halloween became a tradition in other parts of the world?

During the nineteenth century, when many immigrants from Ireland and the United Kingdom arrived in countries like America and Australia, they also took with them their culture. This way, the celebration of trick or treat took off and the parties and decorations eventually became even more popular in many parts of the world.

The typical Halloween rituals

Decorate everything

In Dublin, you will see many houses decorated for Halloween, with skulls, cobwebs, spiders, fake blood, witches and more. People get really competitive about it, and many families invest really hard to make their houses as scary as possible. This idea began way back with the celts, that dressed up with animal skins and heads, and made bonfires as a way to scare the bad spirits.

The Halloween decorations of the reception at Erin School of English
The reception at Erin School of English didn’t miss the preparations. Click on the image to see more >>

Trick or treat

The trick or treat tradition began many years ago, also in Ireland. Back then, the really poor people used to go door to door asking for money or food and used everything they collected to celebrate the day. Over the years the tradition became a lot more fun, and now the kids are the ones that dress up as a creepy character and go around asking for candies.

Carved pumpkins:

The carved pumpkins are also a tradition from Ireland and were always used to keep the bad spirits away from the homes on Halloween. Nowadays these events are a bit more competitive, and many schools and towns do contests to choose the best-carved pumpkin. It’s really fun!

Colcannon for dinner:

On the 31 of October families enjoy their time together celebrating Halloween. For this occasion, some of the most common meals are boiled potatoes, curly kale and raw onions for dinner. It’s also a habit to put some clean coins wrapped in baking papers on the potatoes, that children can find.

Fun things to do on Halloween 2018 in Dublin

Fortunately, the fun on Halloween night is not limited to kids. In Dublin there are some fun options for partying in the night of October 31st:

Bernard Shaw Simpson party:

The Simpson Halloween party it’s already a tradition at the Bernard Shaw pub, in Dublin 2. There will be a lot of fun attractions and a prize for the best costume of the night. If you wanna celebrate Halloween with some pints, that’s a good option.

The Nightmare Realm

This attraction may cause you some sleep problems for a while, and that’s exactly what they want. The Nightmare Real it’s a “haunted” house where you can do a walking tour with attractions and scary surprises in every room. This will be the third year of the Nightmare Realm and it seems to be scarier than ever.

Game of Thrones Party

The pub Back Page, in Phibsborough, will throw a special GOT-themed Halloween party. Get you dragons and your medieval look ready and go have some fun!

Author: Juliana Hansen