The Many Names of Halloween

Halloween wordleHalloween has had many names throughout its long history, and the ones I’ve shown here are a mixture of old and current, from many places throughout the world. Here are some explanations to a few of the more unique names:

  • Samhain: this is the original Pagan name for Halloween. It means “end of summer”.
  • Michaelmas: when the Catholic Church attempted to make Halloween a Christian holiday, they named it after Saint Michael. It was later changed to All Hallows Eve.
  • Nutcrack Night: named for the practice of burning nuts in a fire to tell the future. They can be used to predict the outcome of a marriage, determine one’s true love, indicate future travels, or tell if a wish will come true.
  • Apple Night: the many apple-themed names for Halloween come from the practice of bobbing for apples in a tub of water to predict future love. It is said that if you successfully retrieve an apple from the tub with your teeth, putting that apple under your pillow will cause you to dream of your future husband or wife.
  • Thump-the-door Night: a name used in the Isle of Man, it comes from trick-or-treaters throwing turnips or cabbages at the doors of those who wouldn’t give them any money Halloween night.

What do you call Halloween?

No matter what you call Halloween, may you find many reasons to celebrate!



The word cloud was generated on

The names and information were gathered from “The Pagan Book of Halloween” by Gerina Dunwich


2 thoughts on “The Many Names of Halloween

  1. Thump-The-Door Night hands down. Do they still do it over there now? Must be real funny for families who just moved there and started getting vegetables thrown at them for no reason.

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