Have you ever wondered why we celebrate Halloween? It's arguably the best holiday in the year — you can be anyone you want to be and get free stuff! It's just as fun as an adult as when you were a kid, unlike some holidays. If you're of Celtic ancestry, it's a great time to connect with your heritage. 


Halloween comes from a Celtic holiday, Samhain (pronounced SOW-in or SAH-win). Samhain is the name for the month of November to this day in Irish and Scottish Gaelic. Traditionally celebrated by Irish, Scottish, and Manx peoples, Samhain signaled the end of summer and the beginning of the dark season. Because the new day began at sundown for the ancient people, they celebrated what we now consider October 31st.

This was also the time when the doorway between realms opened, allowing the dead and the Fair Folk to come to our world. Extra places would be set at the table for the spirits of dead relatives. People would be on the look out for anything suspicious, as the Fair Folk were nice, but they would try to trick you into leaving this world.

How can you celebrate Samhain? 

1. Bonfire

Great big bonfires were always held for important holidays. In some places, the community would all dowse their hearth fires and then relight them with fire from the bonfire. 

2. Carve a Pumpkin

Originally, turnips were carved with scary faces in order to ward off evil. However, when the Celtic people came to America, they found pumpkins to be more suitable for the task. Trust us, it's a lot easier to carve a pumpkin.

3. Bob for Apples

Bobbing for apples is an old tradition that is fun for everyone. Apples can tell the future too -- try peeling the apple you caught with a knife. Whatever shape letter the peel makes signifies the name of your future spouse. Time to learn if that crush you have is actually going to lead somewhere!

4. Cherry and Flour Game

Jenga stole this idea from the Celts. Simple dump a mound of flour on the table and place a cherry on top. Using a knife, everyone tries to remove as much flour as possible, without letting the cherry fall. When it does, the loser has to put their face into the flour! Recommended that the person who won shoves the face of the loser into the flour, but this isn't required. 

5. Dress up

There are a couple different theories behind why people dressed up. Some say that it was to keep the Fair Folk from knowing who you were, others say that people were tricksters and would dress as Fair Folk and go to people's houses. Since the people would not want to offend such a being, they would give them a treat. Later, people would perform a trick or say a verse to get the treat; that's a lot trickier than just having to say "trick or treat!"

Halloween is the best holiday and a way to connect with your Celtic heritage. Make some great food to placate the Fair Folk. Try a new activity and be wary of strangers -- they might just be from another realm.