Halloween, All Hallow’s Eve, Samhain or Día de los Muertos are some of the names we know this witchy holiday at the end of October by today.
Halloween originates from the ancient Celts’ celebrations and is based on their ‘Feast of Samhain’. It is mentioned in early Irish literature and is known to have pre-Christian roots. The Catholic church In the 9th century attempted to replace the Pagan festival with All Saints’ or All Hallows’ day, followed by All Souls’ Day, on November 2nd. Over time, Samhain and All Saints’/All Souls’ merged to create the modern Halloween.
It is a celebration of life over death, a time to remember those who have left the world of the living and an opportunity to celebrate and honor the cycle of death and rebirth. In Mexico family members light many candles around the graves of their loved ones and lay out special feast foods for the spirits, and remain there all night.
It is believed that the borders between the world of the living and the dead are thinner on this night and communication between souls that have parted and the living is much easier and fluid. The spirits of our departed loved ones visit family and friends, and join in the ritual celebrations. This makes Samhain a prime night for any type of spirit contact rituals. The Celts looked to their ancestors to bring them guidance for the coming year and hoped to commune with the spirits at Samhain. In Britain and Ireland food is always left out for these spirit travelers, and candles are placed in windows to guide them along their way, and these were the origins of the modern Halloween customs of the jack o’lantern and trick-or-treat.
Samhain also means “Summer’s End” as it is also a celebration of the end of the harvest and the start of the coldest and darkest half of the year. It is the Celtic New Year, one of the most important Sabbats embraced by Wiccans and it dates back to the ancient Celts who lived 2,000 years ago. Nowadays is considered by many to be The Witches New Year.
1. DECORATE FOR THE OCCASION
Decorating your home or room is an easy to way to get into the festive mood of Halloween. Fill your home with seasonal symbols and the colors that come with it and make decorations like wreaths and centerpieces with natural elements like branches, leaves, pumpkins, cornstalks, gourds, acorns, and apples. Get a little witchy and set candles in cauldrons or create little altars through out the home displaying your favorite witchy treasures like crystals, feathers and decorative brooms.
2. MAKE A MAGICAL PIE
It is a well spread tradition to make pies with the left over pumpkin from all the carving in Halloween. Take it a step further and weave magic into your pie! It’s as easy as raising some energy as you prepare the pie, enchanting the ingredients and infusing them with your intention (for example: laughter, love, fun…). Inscribe magical symbols or charged words lightly on the bottom crust before you add the filling. Decorating the top crust with symbols and motifs that resonate with you and your intention is also always a good idea and will make for not just a powerful pie, but a beautiful one too!
3. HONOR YOUR ANCESTORS
Gather photographs, heirlooms, and other mementos of deceased family members, friends and pets. Arrange them on a table, dresser, or other surface, along with several votive candles. Dig a bit into family history by getting in touch with older relatives and asking them to share memories or stories about family members or friends who have passed over.
The day after Halloween, the 1st of November is tradition in many parts of the world to visit and tend the gravesite of a loved ones at the cemetery. Bring them a nice present like flowers, dried herbs, candles or maybe a little handmade something. If you really miss them, you can also write them a letter reminiscing about all your memories of them & letting them know all the ways in which they are still alive within you.
And if you’re more adventurous, Samhain is the perfect night to try and make contact with them. Visit a medium or if you’re one yourself, let it be known that you’re open to conversation and welcome the spirits into your home for the night.
4. REFLECT + PLAN
Reflect on you and your life over the past year. Review journals, planners, photographs, blogs, and other notations you have created during the past year. Consider how you have grown, accomplishments, challenges, adventures, travels, and learnings. Meditate. Journal about your year in review, your meditation, and your reflections.
5. DRESS UP AS YOU’D LIKE TO BE IN THE FUTURE & REINVENT YOURSELF
Halloween is now considered a “dressing up” holiday and many people wouldn’t feel they’re celebrating if they didn’t dress up. The current tradition is to dress up either scary or sexy. I think it’s a better & funner idea to dress up as the version of yourself you’d like to be in the future. Re-invent yourself for the night and even go a little on the dramatic side. Dress up as the woman you wish to be, accentuating & exagerating the elements you most want realized. This way you leverage the original Samhain energies or renewal & transformation as well as honoring the fun modern tradition of dressing up in costume!
6. THROW A WITCHY DINNER PARTY
Seems like nowadays the grown-up way to celebrate Halloween is the Halloween Dinner Party. If you’re a bit bored with the concept but would still like to get your friends & loved ones together for a little entretaining, give it a more Witchy Theme than usual to enjoy yourself more!
I say, set aside the scary & horror decor theme and focus on a more witchy, pagan & nature oriented celebration. Make it more elegant and sophisticated, educate your guests and involve them in group activities that truly honor the energy of Samhain and leverage its powers.
You can still make cute little witchy dishes & a good old Witches Brew to share with all.
Include a little fortune telling, reminisce about your ancestors & decesased loved ones and maybe even do a Fire Ritual together.
7. DIVINATION & FORTUNE TELLING
Halloween or Samhain it’s knwon for being a perfect time for divination. After all, this is a time when the barrier between our world and the metaphysical realm is at its thinnest so divinations are bound to be accurate & clear. There’s dozens of ways to divinate, from scrying a crystal ball or mirror, to using an apple, palmistry, reading tea leaves or runes and one of the most popular Tarot spreads. All Hallow’s Eve is the perfect night to do an elaborate all year Tarot Spread for yourself and others. Usually a bit time consuming & quite elaborate, this comlpex spread is rarely used as it can become confusing, but in the night of Samhain you might uncover valuable information from these spreads that you’ll want to write down and go bakc to through out the following year.
8. MAKE FUN HALLOWEEN THEMED FOODS & DISHES
A fun way to celebrate on Halloween is making fun looking foods & dishes with your family and friends as a group activity. Play some music, have some nice drinks and have fun creating dishes that you can later eat while you watch a movie or tell stories about deceased loved ones by the fire. It’s a matter of getting creative and letting the season inspire you. Anything pumpkin or apple related is a good idea, but don’t limit yourself, go with the flow and just have fun with it.
9. GET CRAFTY
Halloween is a perfect time to start a tradition of making your own witchy supplies. Make things like candles, smudging sticks, incense, salts or herb infusions to stock up for the coming year. DIY-ing this everyday witchy supplies will make them more powerful and effective, not to mention they will be totally customized to your needs and tastes. Check out this tutorial on how to make your own smudge sticks or this one on how to make your own candles to get the ideas rolling.
10. DO A FIRE RITUAL
Samhain has been traditionally celebrated with fire rituals and it is considered a Fire Festival. It’s a time to let go of the old, while reflecting on its effects in our lives and embrace the coming of the new. Fire Rituals are very cleansing and empowering and they’re a perfect way to embrace the energy of the holiday. After you’ve spent some time reflecting on everything that’s been going on with you the past year and setting intentions for the future, go for a walk outside in nature. Think about all those things in your life you resolved aren’t working for you anymore. As you reflect, collect fallen twigs or branches that get your attention along your path. Each one of these will represent something that you would like to release from your life. Then go build a fire, whether indoors or outdoors and throw onto it one by one the sticks which represent all of your wishes for change and transformation. As you watch them burn, really feel these things being let go and making room for the new.
11. WATCH WITCHY MOVIES
A newer tradition is that of watching scary movies on Halloween with family, friends and loved ones. Instead of watching scary movies, I suggest you watch Witcnhy movies or movies that honor your decesead loved ones in some way. Maybe their favorite movies or maybe a movie that resonates with your own personal family history.
Some of my favorite witchy movies to watch in Halloween: Practical Magic; Bell, Book & a Candle; The Witches of Eastwick and The Craft.
12. CAST A SPELL
All Hallow’s Eve is the perfect time of the year to cast spells to keep anything negative from the past out of the future and to create new opportunities for yourself. Considered one of the most magical (if not the most!) nights of the year, the spells you cast at this time will be powerful. So be mindful of your moods and the energy you bring to the Spell. If you’re feeling down or negative for some reason I recommend you DO NOT cast a spell. If on the other hand, you’re feeling positive and full of energy cast away knowing that it will be a powerful & effective spell.
A perfect and easy Spell to cast on this night is a simple Wish Spell. Use your favorite essential oil to anoint a white candle and then light it. Burn some of your favorite incense and get out a nice pen & piece of paper and write down all the burdens and worries you’ve been carrying around lately and that you wish to get off your shoulders. Burn some sage (or a similar cleansing smudge stick) and allow the flame to get really big so you can burn your paper as well. (Do this safely over a cauldron, bowl or sink). Then write a letter with all your wishes for the year ahead. Roll it up and tie it up with a white string or ribbon. Keep it in a safe and sacred place (like a jewelry box or underwear drawer) until next year, where you can re-open it and reflect on what’s happened & which desires have come true and how.
13. MAKE “MAGIC” DRINKS & POTIONS
Halloween night, especially when it falls on the weekend like this year, it’s a good night to get a little intoxicated! (if you are of age, that is, of course!) Make some yummy, warm & witchy drinks to enjoy with your loved ones as you release all your tensions & troubles and you open yourself up for the new coming into your life. Make something fun and yummy like this Shrunken Heads Cider or a nice Mulled Wine.