Halloween

Halloween is fascinating ! As it was never a French tradition, I discovered it when I came to Ireland. I love the festivities, the convivial family games such as ducking for apples and of course the magical world of witches and ghosts.



In France, Halloween is largely overshadowed by La Toussaint, which also coincides with two weeks of school vacation throughout the country. November 1st is a National Holiday where traditionally the French honour the dead through flowers and special events.

Halloween celebrations in France actually came from North America in the 1990s and it is one of the reasons why it hasn’t quite taken off : it is simply too American and too commercial.


October 31st, though, among non-Christian Celtic people, was a different matter altogether. It was the festival of Samhain. it was also New Year’s Eve in Celtic and Anglo-Saxon England at that time.

It was the end of the old year, its summer and the harvest and the beginning of the dark, cold winter, a time of year that was often associated with human death.

Celts believed that on the night before the new year, the boundary between the worlds of the living and the dead became blurred. So on the night of October 31 they celebrated Samhain, when it was believed that the ghosts of the dead returned to earth.

It was an occasion for fire festivals & huge bonfires on top of hills to frighten off the evil spirits.

It was also a time when laws and land tenures were renewed.



In the eighth century, November 1st was designated as a time to honour all saints. Soon, All Saints Day incorporated some of the traditions of Samhain. The evening before was known as All Hallows Eve, and later Halloween.


Over time, Halloween evolved into a day of activities like trick-or-treating, carving pumpkins, festive gatherings, donning costumes and eating treats.


Halloween 2022 in Fermanagh


Our children's favourite activity was always the haunted walk in Corralea’s forest late at night with only a small torch between them, trying to confront the fleeting figures wearing scary masks and black capes. Hot chocolate and spiced apple pie tasted so good after the spine-chilling expedition!!


Here are some of the many activities & events planned in Fermanagh this Halloween weekend.


For the tiny tots:

15-31 Oct Halloween experience at Fermanagh Fun Farm

Train ride to the pumpkin field to choose your own pumpkin, carve pumpkin in carving shed, self-guided tour around the farm, feeding the animals while watching out for some spooky creatures hanging about. pets corner for a pet handling session, indoor and outdoor playarea, indoor & outdoor picnic areas.

Adult £7.00 (no pumpkin included) Child £10.50 (including a pumpkin) family concessions

https://www.fermanaghfunfarm.com/events


29-31 October The wicked witch trail - Marble Arch Cave


This activity includes the children following their magical Halloween quest map where they will encounter vampires , cave trolls and witches ‍ who will help them to create a spell and brew up a plan to help banish the evil witch for good.

Come dressed in your scariest Halloween costume so that Hilda the Evil Forest Witch does not realise you are children! But do make sure you are wrapped up warmly underneath them. Feel free to wear your magical wellies, as the activity will be outside, or beneath open-sided roofed areas.

https://marblearchcaves.co.uk/2022/08/20/the-wicked-witch-trail/


For active young teens:

28Oct-1Nov Halloween Day Camp - Bluegreenyonder

Activities include: Canoeing (weather dependant), Archery, Pumpkin Carving, Chocolate Apple Decorating and lots more!

Duration: 10am- 3:30pm

Cost: £25 per child

https://www.bluegreenyonder.com


25-31 Oct Haunted Forest Walk at Share Discovery Village

Approx 30 mins duration - venture through a chilling graveyard forest

5.30pm – 9pm (waves will commence every 20 minutes) £12.50pp

The event can be scary so may not be suitable for smaller children.

https://www.sharevillage.org/haunted-forest-walk




For budding scientists:

30-31 October - Cavan Burren Park & 1 November - Belcoo Community Centre

Spooky Science Workshops

The Spooky Science Workshop will provide an hour of activities with Geopark staff: interactive hands on fun, make your own glow in the dark slime & other spooky themed activities. Come dressed up!

Please note that some activities will be outdoors (weather dependent), so please wear sturdy footwear and warm waterproof clothing. Check times and book on

www.cuilcaghlakelands.org


For future historians:

29-30 October - Halloween at Ulster American Folk Park

Take a journey back in time for a truly traditional Hallowe'en experience. See how the people of Ulster celebrated during the 18th and 19th Centuries, taste old fashioned Hallowe'en fayre, discover age old traditions and folklore and keep your eyes peeled…as you never know what you will find as you walk the Park!

https://www.ulsteramericanfolkpark.org/whats-on/halloween



For adults:

Saturday 29 October - 10am-5pm - Samhain Yoga & Nature retreat

Immerse yourself in a reflective day of yoga, nature walks, folklore, food, fires, traditional music & great company and prepare the body and soul for the darker months ahead.

An experience with Shauna and her team, I guarantee you will never forget.

https://www.aurorayogastudio.co.uk/book-a-yoga-retreat


Saturday 29 October at 7.30pm. - Dark Skies at Lough Navar

Join well-known amateur astronomer Terry Moseley, of the Irish Astronomical Association on a Dark Sky Safari in the pristine dark skies of Lough Navar Forest

Well away from any artificial ‘light pollution’, see and learn about the best-known constellations, such as Orion the Mighty Hunter, Taurus the Bull, Gemini the Twins, and Ursa Major the Great Bear, containing the well-known Plough, and how to find the North Star.

https://cuilcaghlakelands.org/event/dark-skies-in-cavan-burren-park-with-irish-astronomical-association/


Finally for everybody:

Scarecrow Fest

The National Trust Fermanagh have encouraged people to drop off their scarecrows at Florencecourt in the week leading up to Halloween.

The visitor centre will be open on 26 and 27 October for keen scarecrow enthusiasts to drop off their displays for the event on 28 October.

https://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/events/127b71a6-50e8-44ab-81e0-ed64d49e17e5/pages/details


Enniskillen Fireworks

The return of the traditional Halloween fireworks will take place on Halloween night, October 31st at the Broadmeadow in Enniskillen.



Isabelle.

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