We were thinking back to September 2021, when the pandemic was about to scupper all our Halloween fun, and we thought about how Halloween and Ireland are a world of local and national customs, costumes, tricks, treats and more. We chatted about how popular Irish Halloween traditions and activities are and we rated our faves as well as some of what Trick or Treaters do in the US and further afield.
During Halloween in Ireland we have several of our own Irish Halloween-related customs and activities that are enjoyed by people of all ages in Ireland as well as abroad and at Fun Place we do our best to stock the best products for them and to make the best suggestions of what they could be.
So, in light or that, here are the Fun Place Top 10 Irish Halloween Traditions, or, as some might say, Trick or Treats.
- Bonfires: Lighting bonfires is a significant part of Halloween celebrations in Ireland, symbolizing the ancient tradition of driving away evil spirits…although we must stress they are dangerous and not to be done without permission and supervision. You can read some guidelines here about them from Dublin City Council that we think can apply wherever you are. We have also added a video below from the Gardai.
- Barmbrack: This is a traditional fruitcake baked with various charms or trinkets inside. It is often served during Halloween gatherings, and each charm holds a different meaning for the person who finds it in their slice. In turn opinion this is one of the most delicious treats Halloween has and sometimes you can find money in them (wrapped in baking paper) or a gold ring! (gold may be a bit strong) Check out a yum Barmbrack recipe here.
- Colcannon: A delicious Irish dish made of mashed potatoes, cabbage or kale, and butter. It is often served during Halloween and contains hidden items like coins or rings, bringing good luck to those who find them, it does however divide opinion on whether it is actually nice or not! One thing for sure though, it is definitely Irish, and Bord Bia have a lovely recipe here.
- Apple Bobbing: A fun game where apples are placed in a large basin of water, and participants try to catch the apples with their teeth, hands-free. It’s a popular, if maybe slightly dated, activity at Halloween parties that harks back to simpler times…it’s messy and it’s wet and it’s great!
- Halloween Costumes and Masks: Dressing up in spooky costumes and scary masks is common during Halloween in Ireland, especially for children attending parties or events. At Fun Place we have a chillingly fun selection in our Halloween Costumes Shop.
- Lanterns: Instead of carved pumpkins, turnips were traditionally used to create eerie lanterns in Ireland. Today, pumpkins have become more common, but some traditionalists still use turnips. You can see more about the weird and wonderful turnip and its history in our other blog post here.
- Haunted Tours: Many places in Ireland, known for their ghostly legends and haunted history, offer special haunted tours during the Halloween season, one of our favourites is the Ghostbus Tour of Dublin.
- Halloween Festivals and Parades: Various towns and cities across Ireland host Halloween festivals and parades, featuring music, entertainment, and spooky-themed activities, you can see more here.
- Guising (or Fancy Dress): Similar to trick or treating, children go “guising” in costumes from house to house, performing a song, dance, or joke in exchange for treats…and if they don’t get treats then they’re gonna play a trick on you so be warned!
- Púca Festival: The Púca festival is a wonderful Irish Halloween celebration. It takes place in several locations and includes various cultural events, performances, and illuminations. Learn more about it here.