Appears in
Oxford Companion to Sugar and Sweets

By Darra Goldstein

Published 2015

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Halloween is a fall festival celebrated on 31 October, mainly in the British Isles and North America (although since the mid-1990s its celebration has become popular in parts of Continental Europe, Asia, and South Africa). The name Halloween derives from All Hallows’ Eve, or the evening before All Saints Day, a Catholic celebration that was moved to 1 November (from its original date of 13 May) in the eighth century. The date was probably chosen to co-opt the pagan New Year’s holiday of Samhain, celebrated by the ancient Irish Celtic tribes.