The Halloween celebrations started with Celtic Druids, around 700BC. They believed that the souls of the dead returned back to inhabit bodies of the living. They thought this happened every year on October 31. People wore masks and costumes and paraded to keep out those spirits out from their villages.

Later, this date was fed into the Christian calendar as All Hallow’s eve and All Hallow’s Day being November 1. This is to honour all martyrs and saints. Children wearing costumes offered to fast for departed souls in exchange for an offering.

Another aspect of Halloween celebrations is the ‘trick or treat’ culture. This is also steeped in history . This originated with a ninth century European custom called ‘souling’. On All Souls Day early Christians would beg for ‘soul cakes’ made out of pieces of bread with currants. The more soul cakes the beggars would receive, the more prayers they would promise to say on behalf of the dead relatives of the donors (the thinking being that the dead remained in limbo for a time after death, and that prayer, even by strangers, could expedite a soul’s passage to heaven).

Today, people think the commercialisation of Halloween as being something from the US, but it was the Irish Catholics, who introduced it to America . That includes the practice carving pumpkin jack-o’lanterns.

There are several Roman festivals that come in the month of October such as the day to honour Pomona, the Roman goddess of fruit and trees. The symbol of Pomona is the apple where the origins of bobbing for apples at Halloween started.

Scary costumes and a carved pumpkin can make your Halloween party go with a swing. The broom favoured by witches, known to gardeners as the ‘besom’ is fully displayed. And of course, apples from your tree can be used for apple bobbing games . There were so many superstitions that were linked with the Halloween. For example it is said that, when bobbing for apples, the first person to bite an apple would be the first to marry. It was believed that the person with the longest unbroken peel would be having the longest life. Also, if you threw the apple peel over your shoulder, the initial it forms upon landing is the initial of your future partner.

Similarly, if a girl puts a sprig of rosemary herb and a silver sixpence (not sure where you’d get one of these today!) under her pillow on Halloween night, she will see her future husband in a dream!

A trip to any garden centre will give you plenty of ideas for Halloween. And it will also give you some ideas for the garden as well! Happy partying!