Triduum of Allhallowtide

Triduum of Allhallowtide

Last of October

Hooting owls
Big black cats
Witches wearing
Pointed hats.

Ghosts and goblins
In the street
Are really children
Wearing sheets.

Jack O’Lanterns
Shining out
Scary noises
All about.

Hallowe’en has
Brought some friends
To help October
As it ends.

Author Unknown

As Halloween approaches we thought that we would have a look at the origins of this day and also some helpful tips for safety whilst the children are out and about on the ‘Trick and Treat’ trail.

The triduum of Allhallowtide

The triduum of Allhallowtide is a three-day religious observance which consists of:

October 31st All Hallow’s Eve
November 1st All Saints’ Day
November 2nd All Souls’ Day.

Allhallowtide is the time in the liturgical (Church year) calendar.

Throughout this article, we shall explore these 3 days.

All Hallows’ Eve – 31st October

The celebration is observed by numerous western countries on the 31st October, the first day of the triduum of Allhallowtide. This date is the eve of the Western Christian feast of All Saints’ Day.

All Hallows’ Eve is dedicated to remembering the dead including saints, martyrs and all the faithful departed. The term All Hallows’ Eve dates back to Scottish origins. In Scots language the word eve is even often contracted to e’en or een. Over time All Hallows’ Eve has become (All) Hallow(s) E(v)en (Halloween). The word Halloween means Hallowed Evening. Although, All Hallows is found in Old English language, All Hallows’ Eve is not seen in language until 1556.

It is widely believed that All Hallows’ Eve traditionally originated from ancient Celtic harvest festivals particularly the Gaelic festival of Samhain, which is a festival which marks the end of the harvest season and the beginning of the darker half of the year. Samhain is approximately halfway between Autumn Equinox and the Winter Solstice. It is believed that All Hallows’ Eve has Pagan roots and along with Samhain has been Christianised by the Church.

Some also believe that All Hallows’ Eve began solely as a Christian holiday separate from ancient festivals like Samhain.

All Hallows’ Eve Activities

All Hallows’ Eve activities include:

  • Trick or Treating,
  • Costume Parties,
  • Carving Pumpkins into Jack O’ Lanterns,
  • Lighting Bonfires,
  • Apple Bobbing,
  • Divination games,
  • Playing pranks,
  • Visiting haunted attractions,
  • Telling scary stories,
  • Watching horror movies.

In many parts of the world activities also include:

  • Attending Church services,
  • Lighting candles on the graves of the dead.

Historically, some Christians also abstain from eating meat.

Over recent times, many people believe that All Hallows’ Eve has become a more commercial and secular celebration.

All Saints’ Day – 1st November

All Saint’s Day is the second day in the triduum of Allhallowtide.

All Saints’ Day, also known as Festival of All Saints, is celebrated on November the 1st every year, it is a Christian festival celebrating all Saints known and unknown. The celebration stems from a strong belief in the spiritual bond between those in Heaven and the living.

All Saints’ Day can be traced back in the British Isles and Ireland to the 8th Century, coinciding with the Celtic festival of Samhain.

In English speaking countries, the festival is traditionally celebrated with the hymn ‘For All the Saints’ by Walsham How. The most familiar tune for this hymn is Sine Nomine by Ralph Vaughan Williams. For your reference we have provided a link to a Youtube video of this hymn.

All Souls’ Day – 2nd November

All Souls’ Day is the third and final day in the triduum of Allhallowtide.

All Souls’ Day is also known as Commemoration of All Faithful Departed, this day focuses on the honouring of all Christians who are unknown in the wider fellowship of the Church especially family and friends.

In recent times however, All Saints’ and All Souls’ days have become combined, meaning that Christians now remember all the dead souls and Saints on All Saints’ Day.

After 1030, All Souls’ Day was established by Saint Odilo of Cluny, which then spread across Western Europe.

As with the other 2 days in the Triduum of Allhallowtide the third day is marked with family members attending mass and placing flowers on graves of their loved ones. In many Anglican and Roman Catholic services, a 7th Century poem is read entitled The Office of the Dead.

In England, a popular tradition associated with All Souls Day is the tradition of souling, where bands of children or poor men go house-to-house ‘souling’, begging for money, apples, ale or dole cakes. In some parts special cakes were made ready to give away, they were known as soul-cakes. Individuals who went souling were often heard chanting rhymes as they went house-to-house for example:

‘A Soule-cake,
a soule-cake,
have mercy on all
Christian souls for a

The main aim of this month’s blog is to explore the most common activities that take place during All Hallows’ Eve, the information provided above gives context as to how they fit into the Triduum of Allhallowtide.

Trick or Treating and Staying Safe

Trick or Treat is a Halloween custom in many countries, with children going from house-to-house asking for treats using the phrase ‘Trick or Treat!’ usually on the night of the 31st October between 17:30 and 21:30, however other dates are used around the world. Usually householders that are willing to participate demonstrate this by decorating the outside of their houses with, for example:

  • Lit Jack O’Lanterns,
  • Artificial spider webs,
  • Plastic Skeletons.

Some reluctant householders leave treats outside their house for the Trick or Treaters to collect without having to bother the householder by knocking.

What is a Trick or a Treat?

Treat = sweets (Candy in the US) or money.
Trick = usually is an idle threat to be performed on the home owner if no treat is given.

Trick or Treat in history

The ancient Greek predecessor of Trick or Treating is recorded by the writer, Athenaeus of Naucratis in his book ‘The Deipnosophists’ in which he describes an ancient custom on the Greek Island of Rhodes of children going house-to-house dressed as swallows, singing a song and demanding the house owner give them food, threatening mischief if they refused. It is thought however that this custom is not directly linked to the modern version of Trick or Treating.

Trick or Treating has an interesting path through history, dating back to the 16th Century in the British Isles and Ireland, finally reaching and being documented in the United States in the 1920s.

There are accounts from the 19th Century of people going from house-to-house reciting verses in exchange for food and/or treats with the occasional warning of mistreatment if it were not welcomed. In some respects, you could say that in the modern day the roles have been reversed with stories in today’s world of water being poured out of windows onto unwanted Trick or Treaters.

Scotland has a slightly different tradition that takes place on Halloween which is entitled ‘guising’. Guising is children dressed up in costumes going house-to-house for money or food. This tradition, whilst similar to Trick or Treating, was first recorded in North America in 1911 in Ontario, Canada. Guising differs from Trick or Treating in that it is devoid of any jocular threat.

Pre-the 1940s most references of the term Trick or Treat are from the United States and Canada, where the custom stalled in April 1942 until June 1947 due to the World War 2 sugar rationing. If we look at shores closer to home, the term was really starting to be used in the 1980s going door to door. It was described by the BBC in the 1980s as ‘the Japanese Knotweed of festivals’ and ‘making demands with menaces’. The Irish had a much better idea pre-using the term we now know, in that they used ‘Happy Halloween Party!’

Trick or Treat in pop culture

As Trick or Treating became more and more popular it started to be seen in pop culture as follows:

  • The Baby Snooks Show (Radio Programme) – 1946,
  • The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet (Radio Programme) – 1946,
  • Jack and Jill (Children’s Magazine) – 1947,
  • Children’s Activities (Children’s Magazine) – 1947,
  • The Jack Benny Show (Radio Programme) – 1948,
  • Peanuts Comic Strip – 1951,
  • Walt Disney Trick or Treat – 1952.

In 1953, United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) conducted a national campaign for children to raise funds whilst out and about Trick and Treating. They encouraged the children taking part to shout, ‘Trick or Treat for UNICEF’ when knocking on the door. The aim was to raise money for the fund to help children in developing countries.

In recent years, Trick or Treating has escalated to almost any abode in a neighbourhood including senior residences and blocks of flats.

Trick or Treat – Staying safe tips:

1. Plan your route in advance

Trick or Treating is meant to be fun, with that in mind remember that it can take you several streets away from home, this can cause tired legs and sore feet and therefore some grumpy little vampires. Avoid long treks by planning your route before you leave home, ensuring that you stick to paths that you and your child are familiar with to avoid the chance of getting lost.

2. Wear comfy shoes

Always make sure that you and your child are comfortable to walk in the shoes decided. Girls wearing dresses should avoid high heels, and shoelaces should be double-knotted to avoid tripping over in the dark.

3. Make sure all costumes are short

Long costumes that drag on the floor, can make it easy for your child to trip over or be dragged over by someone standing on the train of the dress, the dark will make this an easier event to occur. Once a costume has been purchased, have the child try it on, and then hem anything which is too long, reducing tripping hazards.

4. Avoid Masks

Masks can make it difficult for the child to see where they are going as well as restricting breathing; it would be a better idea to use make-up to complete the scary ‘werewolf’ costume.

5. Stick together

Make sure that every child in the group understands that they are not to go off on a solo mission, and that they must remain with the group and the supervising adult.

6. Houses to avoid

Ensure that the children are made aware that they should only visit houses which have some kind of decoration on the house, signalling that they are happy to ‘play the game’, and also ensuring that lights are on in the houses.

7. Never enter a house

Children may get excited at this time of the year by promises of sweets/treats, remind them that the normal ‘stranger danger’ rules apply, and they must not go into someone’s house, you never know who is in the house.

8. Think light!

A top rule must be that you only Trick or Treat in a well-lit area, with street lights. Dark alleys should be avoided and if you are unsure where a path leads – AVOID it.

9. Check the sweets given

It is better to be safe rather than sorry, when it comes to allowing the children to delve into their treasure.

When you get home after Trick or Treating check that all sweets are in original packaging and look sealed, any treasure which does not meet this requirement must be discarded.

10. Fill up

‘Double, double, toil and trouble’, hungry witches can be miserable. Prevent the children from gorging on sweets and chocolate, ensure they have had a hearty, warming, healthy meal before setting out on the Trick or Treat trail.

11. Driving?

If you are out and about, driving during the ‘witching’ hours, keep your wits about you, remember the speed limits. It is important that you give yourself time to react should an excitable, hyper ghost step out in front of you.

12. Pets on alert

Remember that treasure accrued by your little monsters can be harmful to pets, as much as the family pet begs for treats, remember to not give them what the monsters have gathered, reminding the children not to give them to the animals.

Don’t forget whilst you are on the Trick or Treat trail remember that houses may have dogs behind the doors, always keep your wits about you.

13. Remember the Green Cross Code

Tip 13 speaks for itself, always encourage those witches and ghouls to follow their basic Green Cross Code when they are out on the trail.

Jack O’ Lanterns and Burn Advice

A Jack O’ Lantern is a carved pumpkin or turnip which is named after the phenomenon of a strange light flickering over peat bogs called, Will-o’-the-Wisp or Jack O’ Lantern. The earliest known date of a Jack O’ Lantern in England is the 1660s.  

How to make a Jack O’ Lantern

The process of making a Jack O’ Lantern is fairly straightforward, we thought that we would give you a quick how to guide.

  1. Cut open the top of the pumpkin/turnip, keeping this part of the vegetable,
  2. Scoop out the flesh, this can be used to make soup etc.
  3. Carve out a spooky face or design into the side of the pumpkin, there are many templates available online, but most importantly, just have fun with it,
  4. Place a light source inside – usually a lit candle,
  5. Place the lid back on to the top of the pumpkin.

Cornish folklorist Dr Thomas Quiller Couch, who died in 1884, recorded the use of Jack O’ Lanterns in a rhyme which was used in Polperro, Cornwall, in conjunction with Joan the Wad, the Cornish version of Will-o’-the-Wisp. The citizens of Polperro regard them both as pixies. The rhyme goes:

‘Jack O’ the Lantern! Joan the Wad,
Who tickled the maid and made her mad,
Light me home, the weather’s bad.’

Jack O’ Lanterns are seen as a way of protecting homes against the undead. Superstitious people used them to ward away vampires, with the theory being that once the Jack O’ Lantern’s light has identified the vampire, they will give up the hunt for you as their identity is known.

In the modern world, during this time of year you can see many interesting, wacky, carved designs as well as the usual spooky face that is seen as traditional.

The hazard of Jack O’ Lanterns

3 years ago, in 2014, the risk associated with Jack O’ Lantern’s and Trick or Treating resulted in the sad story of Claudia Winkleman’s 8-year-old daughter. Matilda was badly burnt when the witch’s dress that she was wearing brushed past a lit candle inside a Jack O’ Lantern.

Claudia Winkleman told the BBC’s Watchdog programme, ‘We couldn’t put her out, her tights had melted into her skin’. Since the accident, Matilda has undergone several operations in order to treat her serious burns. Claudia Winkleman, directly after the accident and at the Halloween the following year, issued safety warnings to other parents.

Following, the accident, Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue service conducted an experiment with costumes that they had bought on the high street. They found that these commercially available costumes became engulfed in flames after only 9 seconds of exposure to a naked flame. Assistant County Fire Officer Geoff Harris said ‘The material these costumes are made of melts when it burns and it will stick to the skin causing horrific injuries’, advising parents to keep children’s costumes away from naked flames and use battery-powered candles in pumpkins.

Matilda’s accident, whilst not wanting to remove any of the fun from this time of year, shows why parents and other important adults need to supervise children carefully when near Halloween decorations and Jack O’ Lanterns.

First Aid Advice for Burns

The National Fire Protection Service advice should a child’s costume/clothes catch fire is to:


The fire victim must stop what they are doing,
therefore ceasing any movement which may fan
the flames or hamper those attempting to extinguish the flames.


The child must drop to the floor,
lying down, if possible, covering their face
with their hands to avoid facial injury.


Now the child must roll around on the floor,
in an effort to extinguish the flames, and starve the fire of
oxygen. If the casualty is on a rug, they could roll the rug
around them in order to further extinguish the flames.

There are 3 simple steps to follow, once the flames have been extinguished, to start to treat the burn and help the casualty.


The most important thing to do at this stage is to
run the burn under cold running water for 10 minutes.
If the burn is only minor and small, should water be unavailable
other liquid could be used (e.g. milk) and then move the casualty to a tap.
After 10 minutes, remove the burn from the running water and check if the burn
has cooled or is still burning.

Still burning?

Re-cool for a further 10 minutes.
Repeat up to half an hour and call an ambulance.

Not burning?

Jump to step 3
Take care not to induce hypothermia if the burn is large, in children or the elderly.


While you are cooling the burn in the first
10 minutes, you will need to remove any
clothing or jewellery the casualty is wearing.

You will need to do this gently and carefully, before the area starts to swell.

Do Not remove anything that is stuck to the burn.

If clothing is stuck to the burn,
take clothes’ removers from the First Aid box, and then carefully cut
the clothing at least a centimetre from the perimeter of the stuck clothing.

If it is not possible to cut the clothing away,
leave the clothing in place and pour cold running water over the clothing.


Once the burn is cooled,
take a roll of cling film and remove the first 2 layers and dispose of these,
take the third layer and loosely dress the burn with it.

You can secure this with bandages if necessary,
placing cold wet towels over the top to keep the burn cool if necessary.

If concerned, or the burn is severe:

Call 999/112 and ask for an Ambulance.
We hope that you have a good time this Halloween, staying safe while on the Trick or Treat trail.
We also hope that those little monsters, witches and ghouls of yours enjoy their treasures and stay safe looking out for the vast array of Jack O’ Lanterns around to be seen and admired.

No comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *