Halloween Traditions that Began in Ireland

Wondering where some of the spookiest Halloween traditions came from? Turns out, many of them are Irish at Heart! In this post, we look at some popular Halloween traditions that have their origins in the Emerald Isle. 



Halloween originates in the ancient Celtic festival of Samhain, held at the end of summer, when the Celts believed the barrier between our world and the spirit world wasthin. The Celts believed that this weakened barrier allowed creatures from the spirit world to walk among us. The Celts would hold large parties, dressing up in masks and costumes to disguise themselves and scare the creatures of the spirit world. These might be the earliest costume parties in history! 

Fortune Telling 

The Irish believed that halloween was the best time for fortune telling, and reading tea leaves was a popular pastime in Ireland year-round. The Irish also used other methods to foretell the future, for example using plates containing an array of items that held prophetic meaning. The plates were placed before a blindfolded person, and the plate they chose would detomine what the future held. A plate of food meant prosperity, a ring predicted marriage, water foretold emigration and clay sadly predicted a death.

Trick or Treating 

One of the most notable Halloween traditions actually originated in Ireland. Children would dress up and visit their neighbours collecting goodies and often being invited in for parlour games. 

Bobbing for Apples

After a long night of trick or treating, or simply as part of the Halloween celebration, many would play games - two of which involved apples! 

‘Snap apple’ is a game where an apple is hung from a string, and blindfolded players then take it in turns to try to capture the apple with a bite. 

‘Bobbing for apples’ as you may be familiar with, involves placing the apples in a large basin of water and players must try to capture the apples with their teeth. 


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