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Why Is There An Apostrophe In Hallowe’en?

Every year, Halloween brings tricks and treats aplenty as ghosts and ghouls emerge to satisfy their sweet tooths. Sometimes, you might see Halloween written as Hallowe’en. What is an apostrophe doing there? Is it a trick? If you have ever seen this spelling and wondered about the apostrophe, it is actually a clue to the history of the word Halloween.

The “e’en” in Hallowe’en is a contraction of the word even, which is an archaic alternative to the words evening or eve. Okay, so that explains the apostrophe. But now you might have another question: what about the “Hallow” in Halloween?

👻Looking for more spooky meanings?

If you’d like to learn a little bit more about what the word Halloween means, you can check out our article on the meaning of Halloween!

The “Hallow” part of Halloween is a shortening of Allhallows, another name for the Christian holiday of All Saints’ Day. The word hallow was once used as a noun to mean a “holy person” or “saint,” but this meaning is now obsolete.

Putting it all together, Hallowe’en is a shortening of Allhallows evening: Halloween occurs every year on October 31, which is the evening before Allhallows (All Saints’ Day) on November 1. If you ever wondered why Halloween is sometimes called Allhallows Eve, now you know the answer!

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