It's Halloween Time! By Jan Benavente and Carolina Ortiz

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Here Are Some of The Things You Should Know And The Activities You Can Do When Celebrating Canadian Halloween

By Jan Benavente

 When you hear the word Halloween, the first things that come to your mind are pumpkin lanterns, candies, weird costumes, scary tales, horror movies and of course trick-or-treating. Halloween has been a part of Canada’s culture since the mid-1900s. It is one of the most celebrated holidays in Northern America too. But have you ever wondered how Halloween originated or what is the history behind it?

Well, it all began from a Celtic Festival called Samhain (Halloween).  Celts lived in Ireland, northern France and the UK. In that time, Celts celebrated New Year on November the 1st. November the 1st was the end of summer and the harvesting of their crops and the beginning of the dark winter. Back in the day, the winter season was a struggle for many people and it was the time of the year when many human deaths occur. Celts began to believe that the barrier between the human world and the deceased is weakened or opened during that time. And they began to give offerings and even wore home-made masks and clothing because they believed that it would confuse any evil spirits and that they would not harm them. Pretty familiar isn’t? Yes, that is what we call now trick-or-treating. Trick-or-treating was first called “souling.” Poor people would go to houses and ask for food or money in exchange for them to pray for the deceased. Souling later on evolved to “Guising” and of course that is what we call now “trick-or-treating”.

How do Canadians celebrate Halloween?

For Canadians, Halloween is just about fun and it has nothing to do with religious belief. Many people give a lot of effort in decorating their homes and their yards. You may often see pumpkin lanterns, spider webs and even human sized skeletons, ghosts, graveyards and scary looking monsters decorated all over their houses and front yard. Also, some people invite their neighbors and organize a themed party with fancy costumes for adults and children. Although Halloween is one of the most celebrated tradition in Northern America, it is not a public holiday and businesses are open in normal opening hours. You may see schools, organizations, stores and businesses arrange Halloween parties but it does not affect working hours.

What is trick-or-treating?

Trick-or-treating is a traditional activity every Halloween in which children will dress up as ghosts, witches, skeletons or even superhero characters and go around the neighborhood. They will ring the bell or knock the door and if you answer, they will call out “trick-or-treat!” and it means that they are asking for candies or any treats and that if you don’t give anything, they will play a trick.

What foods to prepare on Halloween?

There are many different types of food specialized just for your Halloween party. These include candy apples, roasted corn, popcorn, pumpkin pie or bread and candies designed with Halloween symbols such as bats, pumpkins, spiders and many more. Halloween beer is also a thing and is available to specialized stores.

How is Halloween celebrated in the Philippines?

Filipinos do not have trick-or-treating. They only go to cemeteries or the memorial park to visit and pay respect to their deceased loved ones. They do not celebrate it with pumpkins and costumes but through flowers, candles and visits to the cemetery.  

Halloween in Hamilton

By Carolina Ortiz

I would like to share with you my experience about Halloween 2017. When Halloween was close, I did research about how Hamiltonians enjoy Halloween and these were my results. First of all, the Royal Botanical Gardens had an event that promised a lot of fun (face painting, pumpkin-themed, shows and games). It was a busy day and my daughter enjoyed it like she never did before.  The second place that we went was the Salvation Army in Ancaster; they made different activities such as trick-or-treating, door prizes, food, and also they gave us a lot of candies. Finally, on October 31st my family and I wore costumes to go to trick-or-treating through our neighbourhood; this experience was terrific. We enjoyed it very much and we were impressed by how Hamiltonians decorated their homes as real haunted houses. I remember that I screamed more than once. I hope my experience helps you to find places to visit and enjoy Halloween 2018.

I will leave some links down below where you can find information about places that offer you different activities for Halloween in Hamilton.

Royal Botanical Gardens:
Halloween Events in Hamilton:

Halloween in Hamilton Compared to Colombia

By Carolina Ortiz

Hamiltonians spend a lot of money to celebrate Halloween. According to my view, most Hamiltonians consider Halloween an important event, which is why they spend money to decorate their houses. For example, they buy Halloween stuff such us monsters, witches, skeletons and tombs that come alive when they detect movement. In other cases, families prefer to be part of their own show when children and adults get dressed up and act as real monsters with the purpose of scaring pedestrians and having fun on this day. Comparing with Colombia my home country, people decorate their homes but they do not spend a lot of money on Halloween decorations. In conclusion, Hamilton is an excellent place to have fun in Halloween because compared with my country, in Hamilton you are going to enjoy it more and you will see many creative performances.

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Jan Khalid Benavente is from the Philippines and he arrived here in Hamilton in February 2018. He started taking English classes at Mohawk in April 2018 where he is currently taking LINC 6 prep. Jan’s goal is to acquire the required benchmark 7 in order to proceed to college and study  as a computer system technician. Jan is an adventurous traveler who likes hiking, fishing and trying different cultural activities and food. Some of his hobbies are drawing portraits and playing drums and acoustic guitar.


Carolina Ortiz Jaramillo arrived in Hamilton in May of 2016. She has been taking English classes at Mohawk since June 2017 now she is in LINC 6 Prep. Carolina is a Business Administrator from Colombia and her goal is to finish English class to continue her education at Mohawk. She loves singing, studying and spending time with her family.

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