Irish Halloween Ideas:  A Spooky Way to Express Your Personal Irish Side!

Irish Halloween ideas have Celtic roots, and celebrating this holiday the Irish way is a great way to express your Irish side!  To understand this celebration from an Irish perspective, we have to go back in time, literally thousands of years, to a Celtic feast of the dead called Samhain.

Did you say "Feast of the Dead?"  Seriously?  Yes, we'll come back to that.

Irish Halloween: A Jack-O-Lantern with a Pint!

Samhain also marked the beginning of the new year a long, long time ago, in a land that is now called Ireland.  So there you go, right off the bat ... a couple of bits of Irish Halloween trivia to share at your next Irish  party. 

If you would like to know more about Irish customs like these, please visit our main section on Irish trivia and traditions here...

Meanwhile, please enjoy some interesting Irish Halloween ideas!

The History of Irish Halloween in Six Sentences...

Halloween was originally intended to mark the end of summer, since the pagans worshiped the solar and lunar cycles.

It was believed that the end of summer made it possible for spirits to pass over from beyond on that day.

As a result, the pagan Irish would wear costumes to disguise themselves, so that evil spirits could not harm them during Samhain.

Bonfires were lit around the area to guide friendly spirits, as it was believed that the fire could help them return to their resting places.

The Celts were terrified of the end of summer and did everything in their power to make this day easier.

Many present-day traditions have developed from these ancient rituals, making them particularly fascinating for those with an interest in Irish culture.

Irish Halloween - Leprechan Costume

Traditional Irish Halloween Costumes...

Costumes were worn during this time in an attempt to both trick the evil spirits that had crossed over and to scare or intimidate the townspeople.

The purpose of the intimidation was because the group of men who wore the costumes were asking for food from the houses that they visited.

Some believe that the intimidation was done in jest, much like it is today.

The door-to-door procession was always led by a man dressed as a white mare. Each man would also carry a hollowed out turnip with a candle in it, which might have been the origin of the jack-o-lantern.

The men would also sometimes wear animal hides as part of their costumes.

Irish Halloween Ideas, Jokes, Poems and Quotes...

Here are some fun words about Halloween.  Are they really Irish?  Don't know.  But one of them is a limerick, so - that's close enough!

Our visitors who are parents will appreciate this proverb...

Children have the devil in their bellies at Halloween.

Of course with modern children, we may be able to attribute their behavior to sugar in their bellies, rather than the devil.  Just saying.

And here is the aforementioned limerick, highlighting the spookiness of Halloween:

Old McGhee of 1835

Went fishing but didn't survive

When out at the dock

He fell on a rock

On Halloween his ghost is alive!

More Irish Halloween Ideas

Here is our list of favorite Irish Halloween ideas as collated  by the Irish Expressions community:

  1. Carve turnips instead of pumpkins: Carving turnips was a traditional Irish Halloween pastime long before pumpkins became popular.
  2. Host a traditional Irish Halloween dinner: Colcannon (a dish made from potatoes, cabbage, and onions), Irish soda bread, and barmbrack (fruitcake with hidden charms) are festive and delicious.
  3. Bake soul cakes: These small round cakes were typically given out to children in return for prayers
  4. Play traditional Irish Halloween games: For instance, in the game of bobbing for apples, the first person to bite an apple will be the next to marry.
  5. Tell Ghost Stories: Sharing spooky tales was a common Halloween pastime in old Ireland.
  6. Have a Bonfire Night: Bonfires were traditionally lit to ward off evil spirits
  7. Dress as a Banshee or Pooka: These are well-known creatures from Irish folklore.
  8. Host a 'Dumb Supper': This is a meal eaten in silence to honor the dead.
  9. Hold a séance: Remember, the veil between the worlds is thin on Samhain!
  10. Decorate with Rustic Outdoor Elements: Cornstalks, hay bales, and scarecrows can create an elegant yet eerie atmosphere.
  11. Craft your own Halloween Masks: Use natural elements like leaves, twigs, berries, and feathers.
  12. Explore an Irish ghost tour: Many cities have ghost tours that come alive on Halloween!
  13. Visit an Irish Haunted House: Experience the chills and thrills!
  14. Read Irish horror literature by candlelight: Authors like Sheridan Le Fanu or Bram Stoker can provide appropriate chills.
  15. Have a 'Festival of the Dead' party: Invite guests to come dressed as their favorite 'dearly departed' celebrity or historical figure.
  16. Brew a Halloween potion: Try making traditional hot spiced cider!
  17. Learn to dance the Mashed Potato or Monster Mash: Add some '60s flair to your festivities.
  18. Have a 'Night of Mischief' scavenger hunt: Use traditional symbols such as black cats or witch's brooms.
  19. Enjoy an open-air ceilidh: This traditional Irish social gathering often involves folk music and dancing.
  20. Run a 'Witches' Relay Race': Have competitors move around holding a broomstick between their legs – and why not throw in some apple bobbing at each end!

Want More Irish Traditions?

It is probably obvious - at Irish Expressions, we love Irish traditions!  Expressing ourselves through Irish-themed activities gives us a deeper sense of connection with Ireland, wherever in the world we happen to be!

Over the years, we have created many free, downloadable Irish games, puzzles, recipes, songbooks, travel guides, party plans, and much, much more.

These are immediately available to you - completely free of charge.

Just scroll to the bottom of the page and share your email address to get instant access!

What's Next?

At Irish Expressions,our our goal is simple: to provide you with a unique Irish experience, on demand, wherever you are in the world.

If you have enjoyed our section on Irish trivia and traditions, you have probably been exposed to many of the most entertaining ways to express your personal Irish side!

Will that entice you to visit Ireland - or to return if you have already been?  We hope so!  

But even if that is not possible, you can still enjoy the magic of Ireland in these pages.  Check out the links at the top of this website for simple instructions on how to sing Irish songs, use Irish words, enjoy Irish food, and much more!