Halloween’s origins date back to the ancient Celtic festival of Samhain.
The Celts, who lived 2,000 years ago, mostly in the area that is now Ireland, the United Kingdom and northern France, celebrated their new year on November 1st .
This day marked the end of summer and the harvest and the beginning of the dark, cold winter months. Celts believed that on the night before the new year, the boundary between the worlds of the living and the dead became blurred. On the night of October 31st, they celebrated Samhain, when it was believed that the ghosts of the dead returned to earth.
Best activities and festivals in Ireland during Halloween:
1. Spirits of Meath Festival
The story of Halloween begins in County Meath, Ireland’s early base of spiritual and political power. High Kings ruled from the Hill of Tara and the surrounding landscape is still full of mysterious standing stones and ruins of pre-Christian vintage. Newgrange, an immense 5,000-year-old burial monument, still amazes visitors today. The Spirits of Meath Festival engulfs the county in Halloween hysteria until 2nd November. There are tricks for all: crafty witches, spooks and spells, enchanted landscapes, mad scientists, creepy cuisine, candlelit tours, haunted houses, banshees, storytelling, pumpkin carving and fancy dress. Fun by day and fright by night, the Spirits of Meath Festival makes for an electrifying display of Halloween horrors.
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2. Banks of the Foyle Halloween Carnival in Derry
When it comes to celebrating Halloween, nowhere does it quite like Derry / Londonderry, is the ultimate Halloween headquarters. It throws the biggest annual bash anywhere, and Northern Ireland’s historic second city provides a fiendishly perfect setting for after-dark larks. The Banks of the Foyle Halloween Carnival is set to break all records, spanning 29 October to 2 November. Imagine Halloween with a global dimension, as celebrated by cultures worldwide.
A massive parade will meld local and global traditions in sumptuous performance and pageantry. As always, Derry extends its Halloween welcome to everyone, from this world and the next. The only rule: get in the spirit and don’t come as you are.
The entire population takes to the streets in fancy dress. Here, the costume is an art form, the people-watching alone is out of this world.
3. Crumlin Road Gaol in Co. Antrim
This Halloween join the Crumlin Road Jail for our most Spooktacular Halloween Event for Children of all ages and Adults! What better setting for your annual Halloween Experience than a spooky haunted prison!
The Halloween Extravaganza includes the Spooktacular Jail Tour, the Pumpkin Puffer Train Ride and the main attraction – The Pumpkin Patch!
Your Bumper experience isn’t finished yet! You can visit our Petting Farm and meet Larry the Llama, Lexi the miniature cow, Pappa the pig and all their farmyard friends before finishing your fun packed day at our Live Interactive Halloween Musicals where the West Ends come to North Belfast!
4. Halloween at Luggwoods, Co. Dublin
Luggwoods Halloween Experience is not scary more of a fun spooky forest trail. Suitable for small children and for children up to the age of 12 years.
Set in the foothills of the Dublin Mountains, our outdoor Halloween Family Experience will get the Halloween Antics going, and all you enjoy a safe Halloween season together in the most beautiful and natural surroundings imaginable.
The Hook Spooky Luggwoods characters will guide you along theforest trail as you help them find the ingredients for the Friendly Witches Halloween Brew!
She might even have a Trick or Treat for you too!