Night of 31st October to 1st November

Halloween is a great time to travel to Dublin, as the city is decorated all over with pumpkins, candles and spider webs. Book flights to Dublin and see another side to Temple Bar in autumn colours – and infused with the spirit of Halloween.

Origin

We’ve all seen the American version of the feast in movies on both the big and small screen. But did you know the origin of Halloween is Celtic and in fact, it hails from Ireland?

The festival originates from the pagan festival, Samhain, Lord of the Dead, which was celebrated by the Celts of Ireland, Scotland, Wales and Brittany on the 31st October. The Celts believed that the 1st November was the start of the new year and the coming of winter and souls from the dead, ghosts, goblins and witches would return on the eve of the new year. For this reason, people wore masks, costumes and lit bonfires to scare away the evil spirits.

As another Irish folk tale goes, a greedy man called Jack O’Lantern once made a bargain with the devil in which he promised not to take his soul. But Jack’s deal didn’t turn out as well as he’d hoped. When he died he wasn’t considered good enough to go to heaven, but couldn’t go to hell because the devil couldn’t take his soul due to his promise.

As a result, poor old Jack ended up wandering the streets with nowhere to go. He had no light to see his way so the devil gave him a burning ember from hell, which he placed in his favourite fruit – a turnip. So this is where the tradition of carving out pumpkins and putting candles in them comes from.

Today

 You’ll find Halloween parties all over Dublin during the bank holiday weekend – from pub events to private gatherings. But the highlight of the festival is the Samhain Halloween Parade in Downtown Dublin, where you’ll see a host of outrageous costumes – from dragons, ghosts and witches, to samba dancers!

The 31st October is Hallow fest, where children don their scariest garments and head out onto the streets to knock on their neighbours doors and ask from treats.

A more sporty tradition that coincides with Halloween in Dublin is the Dublin Marathon on October 31. Swap your broomsticks and pointy hats for trainers and a tracksuit and you can take part in both – or you can simply watch from the sidelines.

For more general information on the city, check out our Dublin Guide.

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