A NEWCOMER’S GUIDE TO HALLOWEEN IN CANADA
by Nicole Dainty
Carleton University, BJ 2025
In Canada, come October, you’ll notice spooky decorations like spiderwebs stretched across doorways or pumpkin carvings that glow at night in your neighbourhood. It’s the time of year when stores stock up on mini-packs of candy and costumes, all in preparation for Halloween, a holiday celebrated annually on the night of October 31.
While many Canadians enthusiastically celebrate Halloween, some do not participate due to religious restrictions. For certain religious beliefs, the holiday’s origins, the ancient Celtic festival of Samhain, and traditions of dressing up conflict with their faith, leading them to opt out of Halloween festivities.
University Student Parties
Many university students in Canada enjoy Halloween, often celebrating it on the weekend closest to Halloween. Some students will throw Halloween parties where attendees wear costumes, while others opt for local bars that host themed spooky nights.
Halloween is the one time of year when you can let your imagination run wild, transforming into anything from a pop culture icon to a timeless spooky creature like a witch or ghoul.
Halloween costumes can be purchased at pop-up halloween stores like Spirit Halloween in Ontario, thrift shops, the dollar store, or online retailers. You can also make your own costume from scratch.
Trick or Treaters
On the evening of October 31st, people of all ages, from families with young children to groups of middle school students, go door-to-door in their communities trick-or-treating, all eagerly seeking Halloween treats.
Some houses will leave big bowls of candy left outside, politely requesting trick-or-treaters to take only one, while others eagerly wait for little goblins and ghouls to knock on their doors for a treat.
It’s a good practice to provide pre-packaged, unopened treats to trick-or-treaters. While homemade treats may seem thoughtful, parents are advised to only allow children to eat candy that has been pre-packaged by a reputable manufacturer.
If you’d prefer not to have trick-or-treaters visit your home on Halloween, a simple way to signal that is by keeping your outdoor lights off and refraining from putting up any decorations outside.