Life in Canada: How Halloween is Celebrated.
Every year on October 31, Canadians celebrate Halloween as part of their tradition. The very first Halloween was celebrated when the Irish and Scottish immigrants settled in urban North America in the 1800s.
If this is your first Halloween celebration in Canada, read this blog post to learn how you can participate in the tradition.
Is Halloween a Big Celebration in Canada?
Yes! Although it is not a public holiday, Halloween is a very popular celebration that is considered to be the second-largest commercially successful holiday in Canada.
Here are the activities you can try to take part in the Halloween celebration:
- Carve pumpkins, known as Jack-o’-lantern
- Decorate your house
- Dress up in costumes
- Watch scary movies
- Participate in trick-or-treat activity
Halloween Decorations and Costumes
Some people put a lot of effort into decorating their homes and front yard. Pumpkins or Jack-o’-lanterns are usually placed near their front door or windows. It is common for Canadians to go all out with their Halloween decorations by putting spooky objects inside and outside the house.
Walk around your neighborhood to see how your neighbors set up their Halloween decorations.
On October 31st, children can wear simple costumes to school. Each school may have its guidelines for Halloween costumes. Make sure to follow them. You will see people wearing costumes on the streets or even at the office! Back in the day, it is common for people to dress up as scary characters. Nowadays you can dress up as fictional characters, animals, food items, superheroes, or anything you like.
When choosing Halloween costumes for your children, make sure to choose a flame-resistant costume! Especially if they plan to go out for trick-or-treat.
The only downside about Halloween in Canada is that it happens at the end of the Fall season. So, you might need to wear a winter coat over your Halloween costume when trick-or-treating.
Halloween Trick-or-Treating and Unique Halloween Tradition in Canada
A month before Halloween, grocery stores will stock their shelves with varieties of chocolates, creams, candies, chips, and seasonal nuts!
On October 31st, children will go door to door and collect treats wearing costumes around sunset, between 5:30 pm and 8:30 pm.
If you plan to give out treats on Halloween, please follow these guidelines to keep everyone happy and safe:
- When buying Halloween treats, consider some common allergies, for example, peanut allergy. So, make sure to get treats that are nut free. For additional information about food allergies, please check this article from Food Allergy Canada
- Never give out homemade or unwrapped treats
- If you don’t want to give out sugary treats to kids, prepare stickers, temporary tattoos, or other small items children might like
- If you are on a budget, consider buying the treats in bulk
If your children plan to participate in trick-or-treat activities, make sure to:
- Discuss and plan the route where they can go trick-or-treating
- Remind your child to walk on sidewalks and pay attention to traffic before crossing the road
- Let your child go in groups or accompany them if they are under 12 years old
- Ask them to bring a flashlight, or glow stick, or put reflective tape on their costume
- Teach your child to avoid taking homemade or unwrapped treats
- Inspect all the treats before letting your child eat them. Throw out any packages that look like they’ve been opened.
Check these useful tips from Food Allergy Canada to keep your kids safe.
There is a unique tradition that Canadians do when celebrating Halloween. Children and their families would participate in a UNICEF campaign called Halloween Walk-a-thon. They combine their usual trick-or-treating with the opportunity to raise funds for children around the world.
Since we are still living with COVID-19, if you or someone in your household is feeling sick, it’s better to stay home or avoid giving out treats. Let’s keep our community safe.
What can I do if I don’t want to participate in a Halloween celebration
Since Canada is a multicultural country, some people do not celebrate it for various reasons. And it’s okay. If you don’t want to participate in the Halloween celebration or want to avoid trick-or-treaters from ringing your doorbell, here are a few things you can do:
- Turn off the lights on your front porch, and make sure your house appears dark from the outside
- Don’t put out any Halloween decorations on your front door
- Go outside and enjoy nature