Halloween is an exciting time of year for many Canadians. From creative costumes to spooky decorations, there is no shortage of ways to celebrate this beloved holiday. Whether you are looking for a way to get into the spirit with family or friends, or simply looking for a fun night out, Canada has a wide range of activities to choose from. In this article, we’ll explore some of the best ways to celebrate Halloween in Canada. From haunted houses and pumpkin festivals to costume contests and trick-or-treating, we’ll cover all the best ways to get your spooky on this October. So, get ready to have a scream this Halloween, Canada!

Is Halloween in Canada A Public Holiday

Halloween in Canada

Halloween in Canada is celebrated in October 2023. Even though the festival is celebrated with a lot of pizazz and character, Halloween is not a public holiday in any part of the world. Children usually dress up to school in their favourite costumes and go trick or treating. 

How Does Canada Celebrate Halloween

How Does Canada Celebrate Halloween

You would be surprised to know that against popular belief of Halloween having a severe North American backing, it is a very British-Irish origin story. In the Celtic religion, Samhain is celebrated every year on the first of November. It is considered that the veil between the spirit world and the current dimension falls thin. Therefore festivals like Halloween, Samhain and Día de Muertos are celebrated in the window between October 31 to November 2.

After Christmas, Halloween is one of the most commercial holidays in Canada. You can see people decorating their homes with pumpkins, inflatables and sculptures. There are localities in Canada where people have exterior decorations competitions for Halloween. You can often see kids and adults dressed up as their favourite characters for trick or treating. Pranks are an integral part of the Halloween celebrations in Canada. Here are some of the important ingredients mixed in the cauldron for Halloween in Canada.

  • Pumpkins

Pumpkins are very popular for Halloween. You can go as far as and claim pumpkins are a symbol of the festival. This tradition of pumpkin carving the dainty old Jack-O-Lantern has turned into a much more creative and competitive affair in recent times. Several communities in Canada hold pumpkin carving competitions. It seems like the pumpkin head trend will make its comeback again this year! 

  • Costumes

There is nothing better than dressing up. Halloween brings out the most creative, obnoxious, supercalifragilistic costumes one has ever seen! Children band together to go as Ghostbuster characters or the ones of Stranger Things with the great hope of not being the ones dragged away to the Upside Down. Disney and Pixar characters make a comeback every year, while the adults prefer more age-appropriate (adult onesies). 

  • Decorating Your House

Lawn decorators, mini pumpkin patches, inflatable ghosts, gigantic fake spiders, there is a lot you can decorate your house during Halloween. Canadians prefer going over the top for Halloween- just as they should! The interiors are often decorated with fall-themed elements like dried leaves, fake plants and pumpkin-themed decor. Halloween allows you to go haywire on the decorations. You can make several DIY projects like making paper cut-outs and banners. You can also purchase Halloween-themed decor from the nearest home improvement store. 

  • Trick or Treating

It is an age-old tradition where children on Halloween go door-door to get candy from their neighbours. Even though trick or treating is considered a fun practice, the origin of this practice can be traced back to the poor going into the rich neighbourhoods to honour the dead of the homeowners and receiving soul cakes. The practice of dressing up for Halloween or ‘guising’ as it is called, came only in the 19th century.

The “trick” part of Halloween is fun! Families or friends often play pranks on each other in order to scare the other party.

Rules to Adhere to When Trick or Treating

Rules to Adhere to When Trick or Treating

Trick or treating, even though it is, fun should be done under adult supervision. Some of the important things to remember while trick or treating are given below.

    • Always buy enough candy– If you are handing out candies this year, make sure you buy enough candies. Buy them in bulk. Consider basic allergens and avoid buying candies which have nuts or any other substance children can be allergic to.
    • Teach your kid to be polite– If you are not supervising trick or treating, just give your kid a heads up about basic etiquette like saying thank you, not ringing the doorbells of the houses whose porch lights are switched off or are not celebrating Halloween and if someone asks them about their costume, just explain what it is and move along.
    • Alternate gifts– As a little surprise, you can keep stickers, pencils or other small items to add to the candies during Halloween. This is also a good idea to have the back of kids who might not be able to have treats because of allergies.
    • Clean pathways- If you are decorating big for Halloween, make sure you keep your walkways clean. Avoid adding decor materials where kids would be walking (running- we all know that!).

Why Do Canadians Celebrate Halloween?

Why Do Canadians Celebrate Halloween

Canadians celebrate Halloween as a way to have some fun and to remember the ancient Celtic festival of Samhain, which marked the end of summer and the beginning of winter. The Celts believed that on the night of October 31st, the ghosts of the dead would come back to earth and cause havoc. To ward off the evil spirits, people would dress up in costumes, carve jack-o-lanterns, and have bonfires. Today, Halloween is a popular holiday celebrated around the world with costumes, parties, and trick-or-treating. It is one of the most commercialised holidays in Canada. 

Adult Halloween Traditions in Canada

    • Pumpkin Carving: Carving pumpkins is a popular Halloween tradition in Canada. Many households carve creative designs into pumpkins and put them on display by their front doors. You can keep a contest with your friends or family and make it a Halloween ritual
    • Trick-or-Treating: Going door-to-door and asking for candy is a classic Halloween tradition. Most communities have trick-or-treat nights for children to dress up in costume and enjoy the spooky holiday.
    • Horror movie nights: Horror movie nights are a must around Halloween. Throw scary film marathon parties for your family or friends. Get all your favourite Halloween-themed snacks.  Maybe sneak in a prank!
    • Haunted Houses: Many cities in Canada have haunted houses or trails. People can explore spooky scenes and rooms as they make their way through the haunted house.
    • Halloween Parties: Numerous adults in Canada host Halloween parties. Guests dress up in costumes and enjoy Halloween-themed treats, drinks, and activities.
    • Haunted Walks: Another popular Halloween tradition in Canada is going on a haunted walk. This can include a guided tour of a haunted area or exploring a haunted house.
    • Paranormal Investigations: Some cities in Canada offer paranormal investigation tours. Participants can explore haunted places with ghost-hunting equipment and experience the spooky side of Halloween.


Halloween is a great way to celebrate the fall season in Canada. With its spooky decorations, costumes, and treats, it offers something for everyone. Whether you’re looking for a night of fun and adventure or a chance to show off your creativity and costume-making skills, Halloween is a great way to celebrate. So if you’re in Canada this fall, remember to embrace the spirit of Halloween and have a safe and fun time!

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Frequently Asked Question (FAQs)

Is Halloween a public holiday?

No, Halloween is not a public holiday in Canada.

When did Canadians start celebrating Halloween?

Halloween has been celebrated in Canada since the late 1800s.

Do Canadians go trick-or-treating?

Yes, children in Canada go trick or treating.

What happens on Halloween in Canada?

Halloween in Canada is celebrated in much the same way as in the United States. Children often dress up in costumes and go trick-or-treating, while adults may throw costume parties, carve Jack-o'-lanterns and watch horror movies.