Halloween in Canada

Boots surrounded by pumpkins

Halloween is one of North America’s most popular holidays and it’s easy to see why. Costumes, candy, decorations, and haunted houses are all part of this fun and spooky celebration that everyone loves to participate in. If it all sounds a bit unusual, don’t worry, this blog post will explore a brief history of Halloween, how it’s celebrated in Canada, as well as the most popular costumes and fun activities to do during this autumn holiday. Read on and experience Canadian culture first-hand!

A Brief History of Halloween

Halloween is celebrated annually on October 31st in various parts of the world, including Canada. The origins of Halloween can be traced back to an ancient Celtic celebration, which marked the end of the harvest season and the beginning of winter. People believed that on this night, the boundary between the living and the dead blurred, allowing spirits to roam the earth. To ward off these spirits, the Celts would dress in costumes and light bonfires. Over time, these traditions evolved to what we know today as Halloween. Modern traditions include trick or treating, pumpkin carving, costume parties and more.

How is Halloween celebrated in Canada?

The Halloween celebration in Canada starts as early as September when grocery stores set up their displays of chocolate, candy and pumpkin pie. Simultaneously, Halloween stores come alive with promotions for costumes and makeup. Canadians also embrace the upcoming holiday by decorating their houses with skeletons, cauldrons, spiders and more. As the preparations unfold, the culmination of this holiday arrives on the evening of October 31st with the tradition of trick-or-treating. Children don their Halloween costumes and embark on a neighbourhood adventure, going door-to-door to collect an array of sweet treats. Halloween parties are also a classic October tradition, where friends and family come together to watch horror movies, play party games and participate in scavenger hunts.


Halloween is not a statutory holiday, meaning you still must go to school and work, but luckily these are perfect places to show off your costume. Costumes can range from simple homemade items to elaborate creations bought at party stores or online shops. This is your opportunity to live out your secret dream of dressing as a celebrity, a movie or television character, or anything else you can think of.

A few of 2020’s most popular costumes were:

  • Joe Exotic (Tiger King)
  • A roll of toilet paper
  • Wonder Woman
  • Baby Yoda
  • A Jedi

Costumes that are currently trending for 2021 are:

  • Black Widow
  • Astronaut
  • Loki (any version)
  • Squid Game Players and Workers
  • Hand Sanitizer
  • Classic Halloween Costumes
  • Vampire
  • Caveman/Cavewoman
  • Ghost
  • Witch
  • Pirate

Things To Do

There are so many activities leading up to and on Halloween! A popular custom for children is trick-or-treating, where kids dress up in costumes and go to neighbouring houses to ask for candy. Adults dress up too, and will often attend Halloween parties and events, explore haunted houses, carve pumpkins and decorate their houses.

This year people will be celebrating extra hard as Halloween was cancelled in 2020 for the first time ever due to the pandemic. Listed below are just a few of the awesome events to check out in and around Toronto this year.

Pumpkinfest in Kingsway

Bloor Street West, from Prince Edward Drive to Montgomery Road, Toronto

October 30, 2021

Price: Free

Come Celebrate the spooky Halloween season with us! At the 2021 Pumpkinfest in the Kingsway. Bring your best costume and decorate one of over 300 pumpkins Crafts, treats, face painting, raffles & so much more!

Ghost Walks Exhibition Place

2 Manitoba Drive, Toronto

October 8, 2021 To October 29, 2021

Price: $13.75 CAD

Join us (if you dare!) and discover the secret history of some of Exhibition Place's landmark buildings after dark.

Truck-or-Treat Food Truck Festival

Variety Village, 3701 Danforth Avenue, Toronto

October 30, 2021 To October 31, 2021


Price: Free

Join us for food, drinks, live music, crafts, kids costume contests and treats. Entrance is free but donations to support Variety Ontario’s unique programming for individuals with disabilities is greatly appreciated. This is a community event and all guests are encouraged to come in costume.

House Of Horrors

Figures Nightclub, 137 Avenue Road, Toronto

October 31, 2021

416 564 0639

Price: $25-$30

Join us this year for House Of Horrors 2021 costume bash! The best in Hip Hop X Rnb X Reggae X Soca Music all night.

Halloween Haunt

Canada's Wonderland, 1 Canada's Wonderland Drive, Vaughan

September 24, 2021 To October 31, 2021

Price: $31.99 CAD

Halloween Haunt at Canada’s Wonderland is the largest Halloween event in the Greater Toronto Area, transforming the theme park into a scream park with hundreds of monsters, terrifying attractions and live shows.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

What is Halloween and how it is celebrated?

Originating from ancient Celtic traditions, Halloween is an autumn holiday that Is celebrated in many countries, including Canada. Trick-or-treating is a staple activity during this holiday as children don costumes on the 31st of October, venturing into their neighbourhood to collect chocolates and candies.

Why is pumpkin associated with Halloween?

The association between pumpkins and Halloween stems from the Celtic tradition of carving turnips and later adopting pumpkins in North America, symbolizing the harvest season and serving as a canvas for creative jack-o'-lanterns.

What is the meaning behind Halloween?

Halloween, rooted in ancient traditions, is a celebration that blends the commemoration of the departed souls with festive and spooky activities, fostering a sense of community and entertainment.

Which countries celebrate Halloween?

Countries such as Canada, the United States and the United Kingdom are well-known to celebrate Halloween while in other places such as Australia, Belgium and the Czech Republic, there is increasing interest and adoption of this autumn holiday.

What are you waiting for? Embrace the Halloween Spirit and experience Canadian culture with Niagara College — Toronto (NCT). Connect with us at info@niagaracollegetoronto.ca and we’d be happy to advise you on your journey as an NCT student in this fun and diverse city.