In a few days, the barrier between the world of the living and the world of the dead will become thinner and give rise to various celebrations. For this occasion, we offer you a glimpse into the origins of Halloween in Canada. We also provide some tips on how to celebrate while taking care of your health, as well as some ideas for fun themed activities.
Halloween in Canada: The Union of Celtic and Christian Traditions
Although there seems to be no certainty about its sources, many historians hypothesize a possible Celtic origin. Thus, the tradition of Halloween in Canada is said to have its roots in a Celtic festival called Samhain.
According to the Celts, during the night of October 31, the division between the cycle where the days are longer than the nights and the cycle where the nights are longer than the days occurs.
During this period, the division between the world of the dead and the world of the living diminishes, giving the souls of the dead, ghosts and demons the opportunity to pass to the side of the living.
In this tradition, certain practices, such as costuming and offering, would serve to keep evil spirits away and soothe them.
Its arrival in Canada would thus date back to the middle of the 19th century with the arrival of a large wave of Irish and Scottish immigrants. The traditions of the Samhain would then have been combined with those of the Christian holiday of All Saints’ Day. Indeed, the term Halloween would derive from All Hallows Eve, which can be translated as “the eve of all the Saints”.
Some tips to make your body love Halloween as much as you do
Be familiar with fast sugars
Don’t worry, we won’t tell you to abolish sweets!
However, like all good things, it is wise to learn to moderate yourself. Being composed mainly of sucrose and, in some cases, glucose and fructose, the sugar in candies is quickly digested and absorbed into the bloodstream. As a result, blood sugar levels rise in a flash.
That doesn’t mean that the candies collected by the children on Halloween night should be exchanged for apples. On the contrary, maintaining a predominantly healthy diet allows them to have a few treats.
Here are a few tips to maintain this balance and prevent children from engulfing their candies in the blink of an eye:
Discuss it beforehand. In other words, talk about limits and determine with them how much they can eat.
Valuing meals that contain a good source of protein, especially on Halloween night. Since protein is digested slowly, you increase the chances that they won’t have too much appetite when they come back from their trick-or-treating.
When you return, allow them to choose several candies that they will be allowed to eat for the rest of the evening. Then follow the same process to moderate the amount of candies they eat every day.
Celebrating Halloween Despite Diabetes
Although Halloween is a scary holiday, a diagnosis of diabetes should not be one of the things that inspires fear on that day. For adults and children alike, proper preparation can help you enjoy this freaky fun event.
Here are some recommendations to prepare yourself or your child with diabetes:
Verify that responsible adults (teachers, guardians, other parents, etc.) have the necessary informations, such as ;
- the amount of candies that can be eaten, as well as the treats to avoid ;
- the right amount of insulin according to the circumstances;
- identify the signs of hypoglycemia and hyperglycemia, and how to manage it ;
Have appropriate clothing to avoid being cold and experiencing a drop in blood glucose levels.
Make sure that the pump and meter are within easy reach despite the costume.
Have a plan to allow sweets to be enjoyed during and after trick-or-treating without causing any risk.
No choice to bring it up when talking about health: COVID-19 Tips to celebrate Halloween without being haunted by the coronavirus
*Please note that unfortunately we only have this guide in french.
Ideas for festive activities at home
Here are some ideas for fun family activities if you prefer (or unfortunately must) stay home on Halloween night:
Make a piñata filled with your favourite treats.
Plan a candies hunt and, for the brave ones, add a few scary traps like a haunted house trail.
Adapt board games to the theme of the day and exchange the points earned for candies. For example: ;
- mime or draw the titles of your favorite Halloween movies and characters to make them guess.
- Make a game quiz about the history of this holiday and the different ways it is celebrated around the world.
* This option also allows you to invite friends and family to play with you through videoconferencing platforms.
- Bourbonnais, Gilles. 2015. « Réponses aux questions de réflexion sur les molécules ». URL : https://babel.cegep-ste-foy.qc.ca/profs/gbourbonnais/fya/questions_molecules_reponses.pdf
- Conseil canadien du commerce de détail (CCCD). 7 octobre 2020. « Directives répertoriées par province pour une fête d’Halloween sécuritaire ». URL : https://www.commercedetail.org/coronavirus-fr/directives-repertoriees-par-province-pour-une-fete-dhalloween-securitaire/
- Fondation de la recherche sur le diabète juvénile (FRDJ). s.d. « Conseils pour l’Halloween : Ce à quoi il faut penser quand votre enfant a du DT1 ». URL : https://www.frdj.ca/ressources/apprendre/nouvelles-sur-la-recherche/conseils-pour-lhalloween/
- Langer, Abby. 25 octobre 2017. « How to prep your kids for a night of candy ». URL : https://www.biokplus.com/blog/en_CA/kids-health/how-to-prep-your-kids-for-a-night-of-candy
- McIntosh, Andrew. 25 octobre 2012. “Halloween in Canada”. The Canadian Encyclopedia. URL : https://www.thecanadianencyclopedia.ca/en/article/halloween