When is Halloween in 2016? What day does it fall this year? Get Halloween dates and the history of Halloween—plus, some fun holiday crafts and spooktacular recipe ideas from The Old Farmer’s Almanac.
Where Did Halloween Come From?
The origin of Halloween can be traced to Samhain (pronounced sow-in, which rhymes with cow-in), which was an ancient Celtic festival that was celebrated in what is now Great Britain to mark the end of harvesttime and the beginning of the new year. The two-day celebration began at sundown on October 31. The ancient Celts believed that the veil between the worlds of the living and the dead was at its thinnest during Samhain, thereby making it a good time to communicate with the deceased and to divine the future.
Samhain is Gaelic for “summer’s end,” a day to bid good-bye to warmth and light as day length shortens.
History of Halloween
Following the triumph of the Holy Roman Empire over Celt-occupied lands in the 1st century A.D., the Romans incorporated many of the Celtic traditions, including Samhain, with their own. Eight hundred years later, the Roman Catholic Church further modified Samhain, designating November 1 as All Saints’ Day, in honor of all Catholic saints. This day was formerly known as Allhallowmas, hallow meaning to sanctify, or make holy. All Saints’ Day is known in England as All Hallows’ Day.
The evening before, October 31, is known as All Hallows’ Eve, the origin of the American word Halloween!
In later years, the Irish used hollowed-out, candlelit turnips carved with a demon’s face to frighten away spirits. When Irish immigrants in the 1840s found few turnips in the United States, they used the more plentiful pumpkins instead.
See more about the History of Carving Pumpkins.
Halloween Date 2016
|2016||Monday, October 31|
|2017||Tuesday, October 31|
|2018||Wednesday, October 31|
|2019||Thursday, October 31|
Get into the Halloween spirit with these seasonal crafts! See how to make:
• A pumpkin seed necklace
• Pumpkin Spice Mix
• Really cool carved pumpkin designs
• Native American corn husk dolls
• Apple heads
Credit: Susan Valladao; Carved by Mike Valladao