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Hallowe’en, Halloween

Canadians recognize two spellings for the secular holiday celebrated on October 31.

The simplified spelling Halloween has become the more widespread spelling and is the first form listed in modern Canadian, British and American dictionaries.

  • Children enjoy collecting treats on Halloween.

Hallowe’en is the traditional form once taught in schools. This older spelling is also correct and is preferred by some writers.

  • When we were children, Hallowe’en evenings were a time of freedom.

Origin of the name

Hallow is an old English word for a holy person or saint. In Western Christianity, All Hallows Day (now better known as "All Saints Day") is a festival that has been celebrated on November 1 since the 8th century.

October 31, the day before All Hallows Day, came to be known by the early 1700s as "All Hallow Even"—that is, "All Saints Eve" (just as the day before Christmas is called "Christmas Eve"). Eventually, the name All Hallow Even was contracted to Hallowe’en, or simply Halloween.