When is Halloween 2021 and why do we celebrate it in Ireland? All you need to know
Autumn has arrived in Ireland, the leaves are changing colour and the nights are getting cooler which means Halloween isn't too far away.
For some people, the best part about October is Halloween.
Some shops will start to be kitted out with the latest costumes for children and Halloween-themed decorations and snacks will taking pride of place on the shelves.
And in town centres during October, you might just spot a few pumpkin lanterns hanging from tree to tree as the spooky spirit of the season spreads across Ireland.
Despite the current climate, families across Ireland are determined to have a good time - while still following the guidelines of keeping social contacts to a minimum if possible, hand hygiene and social distancing.
And while you prep for the occasion, you might be faced with a few questions from your little ones.
So just in case, here's all you need to know about Halloween including when it is, why we celebrate and if trick or treating is banned this year or not in Ireland.
When is Halloween 2021?
Halloween is celebrated on October 31 every year.
And this year it will fall on a Sunday, giving families a whole weekend to plan and enjoy socially-distanced activities to mark the occasion.
Why do we celebrate Halloween?
The modern celebration of Halloween is the night before the Christian holy day of All Hallows, held on the first day of November, and All Souls Day which happens on November 2.
Halloween marks the beginning of the three-day 'Allhallowtide' dedicated to remembering the dead, saints, martyrs and the faithful departed.
Many traditions and customs we recognise today originated from those of ancient Celtic festivals including the Samhain and Brythonic festival of Calan Gaeaf.
Samhain - meaning summer's end - was a celebration marking the end of harvest and the beginning of the winter.
Hundreds of years ago it was believed that the seasonal transition resulted in a thinning of the boundary between our world and the spirit world.
Many believed that this led to fairies and the dead appearing in the real world - and it's also why being 'haunted' is so commonly associated with Halloween.
Why do we dress up for Halloween?
Dressing up your baby as a little pumpkin or being scared out of your wits by a loved one in a mask is all part of the seasonal fun.
But where did this tradition come from?
Dressing up for Halloween is actually part of both a Medieval practice and also an ancient Celtic ritual.
It is believed to come from the Medieval practice of 'mumming' - which involved people wearing fancy dress and masks going from door-to-door, much like modern day trick or treating.
But dressing up was also an ancient Celtic ritual whereby people impersonated the souls of the dead and received offerings on their behalf.
And the tradition of dressing up, going from door-to-door reciting poetry or songs in exchange for food can be traced all the way back to 16th century Ireland, Scotland, Wales and the Isle of Man.
Can you go trick or treating this year in Ireland?
Trick or treating was banned in Ireland in 2020, however, this may change for 2021.
People were last year advised against partaking in the tradition as going door to door counts as mixing households.
This year, people will still be encouraged to social distance by two metres, wear a face mask, and have proper hand hygiene.
They also be asked to wash your hands and sanitise if you can’t wash with soap and water.
It depends on what restrictions are in place by the time October comes but at the moment, it is likely to be more relaxed than 2020 was when the country was in level three lockdown.
This means that trick or treating may be allowed in 2021.