Halloween: Customs, Myths and Messiness

“Snap-apple Night, or All-Hallow Eve in Ireland” by Daniel Maclise (1833)
from “A general dictionary of Provincialisms” (1838)

In my juvenile days I remember to have seen peasant boys make, what they called a “Hoberdy’s Lantern,” by hollowing out a turnip, and cutting eyes, nose, and mouth therein, in the true moon-like style ; and having lighted it up by inserting the stump of a candle, they used to place it upon a hedge to frighten unwary travellers in the night.

from ‘A Etymological Dictionary of the Scottish Language’ (1808)
Illustration to Robert Burns’ poem Halloween by J.M. Wright and Edward Scriven (c. 1841)

The old name for the beginning of winter [and] because our plays this year are in October, and because our Theatre is coming to an end in its present shape.

Freeman’s Journal, 16/10/1901. This is the earliest mention of Samhain in the Irish Newspaper Archive.
Freeman’s Journal (2/11/1903)
Samhain Revived (1911)



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