The Amish and Halloween

Do Amish celebrate Halloween?

While Amish do grow a lot of the pumpkins that become the Jack-o-Lanterns adorning homes across the nation today, the Amish themselves do not have a tradition of carving or displaying their own.

The most you might see are some uncarved pumpkins and gourds festively arranged at some homes (though I suppose that could just as easily fall under the category of “autumn decorations”).

amish halloween
Amish Halloween? No, just a Kentucky produce auction

While some readers have suggested that Amish children in at least one community do trick-or-treat, generally this is not something you will see Amish youngsters doing.

In the new Concise Encyclopedia of Amish, Brethren, Hutterites, and Mennonites (more on that to come), Donald Kraybill tells us that “TRADITIONAL GROUPS [ie, Amish], in keeping with their separatist stance, are more likely to ignore holidays such as Halloween in the United States or its equivalent in other countries, and holidays that emphasize nationalistic military themes” (Concise Encyclopedia, p 107).

However, I must add that I was surprised once when an Indiana Amishman told me that yes, in fact his family did regularly celebrate on Halloween.

Well, just what did they do?  Birthday cake and candles, for October 31st is his daughter’s birthday, he explained with a grin.

Want more?  Try this AOE entry on Amish Holidays.

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    1. Katie Troyer

      I like that Amish Man’s way of celebrating Halloween.

    2. If a lot of them don’t want dolls with faces, I’m sure they wouldn’t put a face on a pumpkin! LOL I’m Catholic so it’s a day before a Holy Day for us (All Hallows Eve, before All Saints Day) but we still get candy, just no dark, spooky stuff. Now if I can just convince everyone else to not scare me I’ll have it made! 😀 I totally understand when people want to avoid it altogether though. I just don’t like when people say it’s because they’re “Christian”. I’m a Christian and we get candy, but we definitely don’t celebrate the “dark side”. I say let’s skip it and bring on the turkey – I’m ready for Thanksgiving!!

    3. Wow, is that ever typical Amish humor… hehehe.


    4. Cara

      I think for me it has been partly because I’m Mennonite that my family doesn’t celebrate Halloween, but it is also because it is my brother’s birthday! I totally get his joke. 🙂

      1. Diane Bixler

        My birthday is Halloween as well!

        I’m not Amish or Mennonite but believe in much of the culture. My birthday is Halloween and we always celebrated it, but I still worry that it is not a Holy Day.

    5. Celebrating a birthday sounds like more fun than anything, especially since there is cake! LOL!

    6. Christina

      Ha, ha! That’s a good one, Indiana Amishman!

    7. Slightly-handled-Order-man

      I am happy to report that for Halloween I decided to dress up Amish.

    8. Robin

      We were visiting Strasburg, PA three years ago and during that time, the annual town Halloween parade took place. We did see a young Amish family walk into town, pulling their children in a wagon to observe the parade. However, it was not ON Halloween but a couple of weeks prior.

    9. George

      Cake and candles, great combination. Amish apple pie would suffice for me.

    10. Guys I just realized I missed a good question on this post–what kind of luck do English kids have trick-or-treating at Amish homes? 😉

    11. Theresa H.

      We have Amish friends in Middlefield, Ohio and I just found out a few weeks ago that their kids go trick-or-treating. I was shocked when I read the letter. The kids wanted to know what our children were going as this year, they had not decided yet. I thought I new everything about the Amish. Hope everyone has a great day!

      1. Amish children trick-or-treating?

        Theresa, you’re the second person who has mentioned Amish kids in Geauga County trick or treating. Sharyn brought up the same on the post from two years ago. At the time I was surprised and not sure if that was accurate. If anyone has heard of something similar let us know:


        Well Erik … you should visit Mesopotamia , Ohio during trick or treat , you’ll find Amish kids trick or treating along side the “yankee” kids . It’s great ! The ones I have spoken to about Halloween know that it is “All Hallows Eve ” the night before All Saints day ,a Christian holiday .

    12. Kathy

      Halloween in the southern hemisphere

      When I was growing up we didn’t celebrate Halloween in New Zealand, it’s not a tradition here. It’s also Spring! (Although that doesn’t stop us from celebrating Christmas in summer and Easter in Autumn!) However it’s become more popular in recent years with cheap decorations available. There are more and more people setting up Halloween themes in their yards and houses and charging people to visit (often to be donated to charity). We don’t celebrate it in our family, but I would love to visit the US and experience it.