Soulful celebrations for Halloween and All Souls Day


Melissa McGroartyOctober 18, 2023


Twenty or so years ago, when our children were very small, Halloween did not really exist at all as a day celebrated in Australia. Around the time our children were in mid primary school however, we started to get requests for a Halloween party and to go trick and treating with their friends. As a family this caused us to pause and reflect for a moment. Did Halloween have meaning to us, could Halloween be celebrated in Spring in Australia, and what was the real meaning behind it? It’s a common question we often hear from families like us who are journeying through Steiner education.

There are many cultures that recognise that at this time of year, the veil between the worlds of the living and the dead is “thin”. Halloween is derived from the words hallowed and eve – and in the Christian calendar falls before All Saints Day and All Souls Day on November 1st and 2nd. All Souls Day, was a time to remember family members and friends who had passed on with prayers and blessings; often food such as soul cakes would be left out for the visiting spirits.
In Mexico, many families celebrate the Day of the Dead and create little altars to honour family members who have crossed the threshold. In Celtic culture, Samhain was celebrated with great feast and bonfires and had it’s origins in earlier times when the ancient burial mounds were open, which were seen as portals to the Otherworld.

halloween ring 2

In the end we decided to join in some of the fun and festivities of Halloween, while also bringing in the deeper meaning of All Souls Day. This decision will be different for every family. Our children joined in trick or treating from around the age of 9 years, this was perfect as it is a time when the child’s consciousness is changing and they become much more self aware. It’s also a time when they may have their first experience in life that they are mortal, as they move out of the dreamy consciousness of the younger child.

We also created a little altar in our family home where we would honour our family members that has passed on, lighting candles and telling stories about them on November 2nd.

jo altar

Here’s some ideas for simple, fun and meaningful ways to celebrate Halloween:

  • Carve a pumpkin (or a watermelon) and place it in your window as a light to those passing by or visiting for treats.
  • Dress up! We always made our own costumes. There was a lot of thought from the children about what they wanted to dress up as and how they would achieve it, so much imagination and creativity that went on, a simple ghost with eyes cuts in an old sheet, or black stockings stuffed with paper to make a tail for a black cat. Silk play cloths always came in handy as they were so adaptable. Intuitively the children would choose things that were appropriate for their age, and not commercial or too scary.
  • Decorate a candle with Halloween symbols using modelling or decorating wax.
  • Read stories together, we love Gobolino the Witches Cat as a read aloud for primary school aged children.
  • Make a Halloween themed window star with waxed Kite paper.
  • Use your Grimm’s celebration ring to create a spooky theme for your dinner table on the night of Halloween, and then redecorate it simply with candles and surrounded by photos to create a family altar for All Soul’s Day.

You can find our selection of lovely little treasures to celebrate Halloween and decorate your home here. (this link will change after the Halloween season).

halloween candle

For a deeper look at this festival there is a wonderful article by Steiner educator, Yantra at Steiner Inspired. 

Thank you to our customer Carrie for this lovely image of your Halloween display.


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