Samhain, pronounced Sow-wen, is more popularly known as Halloween.  Among its other names include November Eve, Hallowmas, Feast of Souls, Feast of the Dead, Day of the Dead, Feast of Apples and All-Hallows-Eve.  This Pagan Festival is held on October 31st and is considered the Witches' New Year as it is ends, and at the same time begins, the cycle of the seasons for many Wiccan Traditions.  Being the third festival of the harvest, it heralds the time when one should ready for the cold winter months ahead.  Samhain symbolically marks the death of the Sun God and His passing over into the "Summerland" where He readies and awaits for His rebirth from the Mother Goddess at the Winter Festival, Yule.  The Summerland is the afterlife, the place where souls go after they die and ready for re-entry into the physical world via reincarnation.

Samhain is also the time when the boundary between this world and the world of spirit is thinnest.  It is the time to honor those who have come before you, the Ancestors, and those who have passed on in your life.  It is not a time of mourning, for it is believed that deceased loved ones have gone on to the after life, to greater things.  Divination and interaction with spirits is also commonly done on Samhain, as it is the best timing to do so.  There are many stories and myths concerning costumes.  Since the dead walk among the living on this night it is thought people wore costumes to blend in, so the dead would not pester the living.  Another line of thinking says people wear terrifying masks to scare evil spirits away so they would do no mischief or harm.  It is traditional to leave out a plate of food right outside your doorway for the souls of the dead, so they may partake in the festive feasts.  A candle is placed in a window to guide loved ones home from The Summerland.  Some also bury apples in the earth to "feed" the spiritual passerby's on their journey.
Altars are often decorated with pumpkins, pomegranates, apples, squashes and other late autumn fruits.  Autumn flowers also find their place among the decorations such as marigolds and chrysanthemums.  Samhain Feasts usually consist of beets, turnips, apples, corn, nuts, gingerbread, cider, meat dishes and pumpkin dishes.