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Halloween What is Halloween?

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What is Halloween?

Halloween is a holiday celebrated on the night of October 31st. On this night, children dress up in different costumes and go door to door asking for candies (also known as trick or treating). Other activities that also take part in this custom are bonfires, costume parties, visiting haunting houses, playing pranks on one another, watching horror films and other Halloween related festivals. Pumpkins are carved out for Halloween with faces and homes are decorated with ghostly and other evil images.


Evolution of Halloween

  • The first Halloween event dates back to pre-Christian Ireland and Scotland to a celebration of the Druids or Celtic priests.
  • The Celtic year began on November 1st with a festival called Samhain. The ancient priests believed that on the evening, Samhain, the lord of the dead, called forth host of evil spirits.
  • On the eve of Samhain, October 31st, laughing bands of young people disguised themselves in monstrous masks and carved lanterns and carried them through the villages. This festival came to be known as the festival of the dead
  • The druids believes that it was this on this night when earth came into the closest contact with the spirit world and consequently ghosts, goblins, witches and all created havoc and destruction (killing farm animals and destroying crops)
  • According to the belief, while spirits of the dead roamed around, villagers lighted bonfires to either drive them away or to guide the spirits of the dead back to their homes

Second Event

  • The second event to Halloween dates back to the Dark ages in Europe
  • The Christian Church destroyed many of the temples of various Greek deities
  • However, this pagan worship was never completely eradicated and later took on the form of witchcraft.
  • One of the most important aspects of witchcraft is a number of celebrations called “Witches’ Sabbaths”. The highest celebration of this is called Black Sabbath of Witches or the High Sabbath on October 31st
  • Things such as cauldrons, broomsticks and black cats came from this event

The Third Event

  • The third event dates backs to early Roman Catholic Church
  • The church had appointed days to honour each of the saints and basically ran out of days in the year. So they decided to remember all the saints on All Saints Day
  • This took place on November 1st and was called All-hallowmas or All-hallows
  • The night before this, October 31st came to be known as All-hallows Eve or Holly Eve, and eventually Halloween



  • This was a legend associated with an Irish man, Jack who supposedly enjoyed playing pranks on the Devil
  • The legend states that after his death, Jack did not go to Heaven or Hell and therefore, had to wonder the earth carrying a lantern, providing him with some light to see where he was going
  • Pumpkins that were hollowed out and had candles lit inside were symbolic of this legend
  • On top of that, these pumpkins were also used to scare evil spirits away (that is why odd looking faces are carved in the pumpkins)


  • In Ireland, it was believed spirits thronged about the houses of the living, they were thus greeted with a banquet
  • At the end of the feast, villagers disguised themselves as souls of the dead and paraded to the outskirts of their villages in order to lead the spirits away.
  • This believed to avoid any calamities the dead might bring. Another way the villagers tried to appease the dead was set out bowls of fruit and other treats so the spirits would partake of them and leave them in peace
  • Later when the belief in ghosts and goblins declined, youths dressed themselves as ghosts and such as threatened to play tricks on those who failed to be generous with treats

Bats & Black Cats

  • These animals were believed to communicated with the dead
  • It is also believed black cats were able to house the souls of witches

Interesting Facts!

  • Survey conducted by BIGresearch found that an estimated $3.29 billion was spent on this holiday in 2005
  • Candy sales for Halloween in the year 2005 made a profit of $2.1 billion ($1 million immunizes more than 58,000 children for life against the top 6 child-killer diseases)
  • Average consumer planned on spending $48.48 on merchandise. A total of $18.07 was spent on sweets ($40.00 can provide blankets for ten children to protect them from the cold and $15 provides two long-lasting insecticidal mosquito nets, protecting families from malaria which kills an African child every 30 second)

Islamic Stance

  • “We have sent them the truth, but they indeed practice falsehood” (Quran 23:10)
  • “You must keep to my Sunnah and the Sunnah of the Rightly Guided Caliphs; cling to it firmly. Beware of newly invented matters, for every new matter is an innovation, and every innovation is misleading” (Bukhari)
  • “The final hour will not come until my followers copy the deeds of the previous nations and follow them very closely, span by span, and cubit by cubit” (Bukhari)
  • “Whoever imitates a nation one of them” (Abu Dawud)


It was the Sunnah of the Prophet (saw) to differ from the non-Muslims, particularly in those matters that were specific to non-Muslims. In Sunan Abi Dawud, Anas ibn Malik says that when the Prophet (saw) came to Medinah, there used to be two festivals in which the people engaged in playing sports. So the Prophet (saw) asked, "What are these two days?," they replied, "We used to play sports during these in the jahiliyah (time period before Islam)." The Prophet (saw) then said, "Verily Allah has given you two better days, the Day of Adha and the Day of Fitr."

This not only shows that the Prophet (saw) did not acknowledge the non-Muslim's days, but also demonstrates that Allah has dignified the Muslims with days which are pleasing to Him and superior in merit. Indeed, the glorious Companions understood this principle and applied its ruling with the fullest extent. For example, Abdullah ibn 'Umar said, "One who settles in the lands of the non-Muslims, celebrates their New Year's Days, and behaves like them until he dies, will be raised with them on the Day of Resurrection."



Islam propagates the idea of conscious living, and upon the advent of Islam, it served to cleanse ignorant and superstitious practices. Muslims have been ordered to work for a purposeful, beneficial cause for mankind. Indulging in prehistoric and ignorant practices can only lead to frittering away ones life and thus making one an ultimate loser in the Hereafter