Halloween is the time of year when there’s always something fun to do for people of all ages. We dress up, carve pumpkins and get into the spooky mood by watching scary movies and going trick or treating. It’s often thought that Halloween is an American tradition. However, its roots in an ancient Celtic festival called Samhain, which began around 2000 years ago.
Halloween through the Ages
It was thought to be the time of year when the veil between the living world and the dead world was at its thinnest, so the dead could walk among the living for one night. All Hallows’ Day (otherwise known as All Saint’s Day) was marked by the Christian Church, and the night before this day was celebrated with a feast where the souls of the dead would be prayed for. This eventually became a ritual close to the Halloween we practise today, where criers would dress all in black and call for people to pray for the souls of the dead. Dressing as the dead like was done to fit in with any deceased souls wandering the earth, so they would think you were one of them, as the story goes.
The Popularity of Halloween today
Over the centuries, it has evolved into the yearly tradition we practice today, now so popular that according to mintel.com Brits spent approximately £310 million last year on Halloween, although we no longer do it to ward off spirits but instead do it just for fun. In fact, Halloween has evolved so much over time that it has bled into pretty much every industry. Horror movies and TV shows such as the Netflix original, Stranger Things and American Horror Story are always released over the Halloween period and are incredibly popular, often inspiring party themes and costume choices. The gaming industry also thrives on Halloween, from online casino games incorporating Halloween themes into slot games with names such as Halloween and Monster Wheels to get users into the spirit, to gaming giants such as Steam who hold massive Halloween sales on big name games such as The Witcher 3 and Resident Evil 7 which are often horror themed. Halloween has now has become another way to enjoy the season in more fun ways.
But there is so much more to do out there for you to make the most of Halloween other than simply dressing up, trick or treating, watching tv or playing games. Let’s look at some of the best Halloween events happening around Belfast this year.
If you’re looking for a truly scary experience, then Fright Night might be up your street, a woodland trail composed of two spooky sets, a hauntingly good storyline and awesome special effects that will really bring the horror back to Halloween. Running from 6th October to 4th November, Fright Night also hosts The Slaughterhouse, featuring scary attractions such as the Inbred Horror House, Claustraforest, Hellish Hay Cart, and The Circus. The Burger Bar and Café is located nearby so you can grab a tasty bite to eat as you try to calm your nerves.
Take a spooky walk through The Crumlin Road Gaol, which is said to be brimming with paranormal entities ever since the doors to the prison closed back in 1996. There have been numerous sightings or spirits, strange noises and unexplained events taking place here for years in this 150-year-old building that has played host to 17 executions. The tour takes an hour and you will be led to various areas of the prison with heightened paranormal activity and hear some bone-chilling stories of what happened in this very building.
On 29th October, Titanic Belfast will be hosting the annual Monster Mash event from 4pm-7pm. The event will feature some cracking entertainment for everyone, such as street theatre, wicked workshops, fire shows and jugglers, fun fairground rides and great live music. Dance, play and be merry at this fun Day of the Dead themed party and be in with a chance to win loads of great prizes!
Now you know all about the origins of Halloween and some of the best that Belfast has to offer this Halloween to truly get in the spirit of the holiday, so get your best costume on, carve your pumpkins and go get spooky!