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This article is for Samhain the Ghost of Halloween. To read about magician Sam Hain, go here. To read about the RPG version, go here. To read about the IDW version, go here

Samhain[3][Note 1][4] is the Ghost of Halloween and one of the few villains to face the Ghostbusters on more than one occasion. He is a strategic ghost with the ability to manipulate time in order to cause eternal night. Samhain also has the ability to control legions of ghosts at his command, however certain ghosts such as Slimer seem able to resist him to a certain extent.


The Real Ghostbusters[]

Samhain dates back to seventh century Ireland, where Halloween started out as the Feast of Samhain.[5] It was recorded that he was an unstoppable creature of the night.[6] At some point he was trapped in stone.[7] Samhain remained imprisoned in the ancient clock for centuries. In the 1980s, the clock was brought from Ireland to New York to be on display in a museum. As a result, P.K.E. activity spiked.[8] Two weeks later, Samhain was released from his captivity by his two goblin minions on Halloween night. Once set free, he gathered all the ghosts he could and sent his minions all over New York. He also used his powers to halt the night as he planned to make Halloween an eternal night that will last forever all over the world.[9] The Ghostbusters however ran all over town capturing his minions, leading Samhain to confront them out of rage. However, the Ghostbusters used his weakness against light to stun him.[10] Egon came up with a plan to use all the lights in the city on Samhain but a blackout occurred.[11] While Peter, Ray, and Winston distracted Samhain and his minions with a frontal assault, Egon set up spotlights around the building he perched atop. He was captured (along with his minions) just before the world fell under his evil reign forever. He was placed into the Containment Unit where it was assumed that he would stay.

For quite some time, Samhain remained in his prison. Yet despite getting along with his fellow inmates, he never enjoyed being imprisoned. The next year after Samhain was captured, Dyb Devlin used an illusion of Samhain on Ray and Winston in the second part of his game show Race the Devil.[12] It was a trick to fool the Ghostbusters into giving up. While revealing the fake Samhain, Dyb said, "Why, it's an old friend of yours." "It's Samhain, the living embodiment of Halloween!" But during the battle, Ray realized they already captured the real Samhain. The real one was still in the Containment Unit. Once Ray realized this, he stood his ground and defeated the fake Samhain with his bare hands.

The next Halloween, Samhain was released from the Containment Unit thanks to his two goblins liberating him again. This time Samhain's primary goal was to take revenge on the Ghostbusters for his long imprisonment. He summoned more ghosts and quickly took over the Ghostbusters' headquarters, transforming it into his new fortress. The Ghostbusters managed to get everyone else and escaped just before the headquarters completely transformed. The Ghostbusters attempted to use his weakness to light again, but Samhain set up a protective barrier around the fortress that only other ghosts could pass through. Samhain then led his minions around the town to search for the Ghostbusters, allowing the Jr. Ghostbusters to investigate the fortress. The Junior Ghostbusters were chased by sentries and later caught by ghosts led by Samhain. The Ghostbusters used a camera hooked up to Slimer and saw that Samhain's fortress was held together by a keystone that was in exactly the same place that the Containment Unit was in.[13][14] The Ghostbusters attacked Samhain in his fortress and blasted the stone from outside the fortress while Slimer attempted to save the kids. After the Jr. Ghostbusters got out, the keystone was destroyed, causing the entire fortress to crumble and unveil the Containment Unit (which was left open after Samhain escaped).[15] With the Containment Unit still active, Samhain and his minions were sucked back into their prison. Over the years, Samhain seemed to get along with his fellow inmates (even playing a few card games with them during the Poso incident).

Secondary Canon[]

Now Comics[]

For the months, after being recaptured, Samhain had been constantly chanting the word "Evening" without end. His chanting allowed him to finally escape the Containment Unit through a moebius strip-shaped rift and he took Slimer, Janine, and Louis hostage. He invoked the name of the Druid god, Muck Olla, then called for his minions.[16] As his minions stormed through New York, the Ghostbusters teamed up with an ancient wizard named Phineas Evantide, who they encountered on a previous mission, and were successfully able to recapture him. Samhain worried another failure meant he was abandoned by the Celtic gods.[17] Samhain then made another attempt to escape via a second extended session of chanting. His attempt was cut off abruptly by a new foghorn the Ghostbusters installed in the Containment Unit that fired off loudly whenever the word "Evening" was said. The other ghosts in the unit immediately forbid him from ever saying the word again.

After the incident, Winston remembered all the pain he'd gone through as a Ghostbuster.[18] The Ghostbusters later encountered a Troll revealed that he was once a minion of the Halloween ghost. The Troll thought Samhain's ideology went too far and was banished from Trolldom as a consequence of speaking out against him.[19][20] Samhain was mentioned again, the next year, when Egon explained how the Boogieman managed to escape the Containment Unit.[21]

Samhain returned once more. Since the barrier between the land of the living and land of the dead was at its weakest during Halloween, Samhain planned to shattered it, focus the power of terror, and absorb the energies released.[22][23] Samhain seemingly met his ultimate demise when the Ghostbusters turned his plan against him. They used their Proton Packs to form a makeshift containment field around Samhain. The field allowed energy in, but not out. Samhain suffered an ectoplasmic overload and imploded.[24]

From Role-Playing Adventure book Series[]

Samhain, very similar but not specifically the same, is a villain of the role-playing series (Tobin's Spirit Guide on page 50 and Pumpkin Patch Panic as the main villain).

See Samhain (RPG) for more information

IDW Comics[]

A ghost named Ralph is trapped and placed into the Containment Unit. He is greeted by Samhain, who assures him he is not alone. Samhain explained he was put into a prison by the Ghostbusters and instructs him to take a moment to acclimate in order to see the other entities captured. Samhain seemed to encourage Ralph's fear to grow. Once Ralph started to panic about being stuck in the Containment Unit, Samhain was overwhelmed by the amount of fear projected. It turned out to be the Boogieman posing as Samhain as part of a strategy to invoke fear and feed on it to regain power.

When two teams of Ghostbusters captured Proteus in their Proton Streams, the god was forced to show them the future. Since eight men captured him at once, he had to show eight futures at once. One of the futures gleaned was of Samhain after he was released from the Containment Unit.

Ghostbusters: The Board Game[]

Ghost Card Information[]

Side A[]

  • To Hit: 4 or higher, add a Stream
  • To Trap: 5 Streams
  • When Hit: Samhain moves 1 space towards that Ghostbuster.
  • When Trapped: Place it on your Character Card.
  • When Missed: A Ghost emerges from Samhain, then Samhain moves 1 space in a random direction.
  • Special:
    • Samhain is unaffected by combat unless he is in front of the Ecto-1 and within Line of Sight of the front space of the Ecto-1 (in the green spaces as shown at right).
    • After Samhain moves, any Ghost within his Line of Sight moves 1 space in the same direction.
    • At the end of each Ghostbuster's turn, Samhain moves 1 space towards the nearest Open Gate.
    • At the end of each Round, if Samhain is adjacent to an Open Gate, a Ghost emerges from him for each Closed Gate.

Side B[]

Samhain is the Ghost of Halloween. Believing that ghosts have been eternally mistreated, Samhain's ultimate goal is to create a world ghosts rule and lord over humanity. Samhain is an incredibly formidable entity with powers including the ability to halt time, control legions of ghosts and expel black lightning.

He is not driven by pure malice, but righting what he feels is a wrong. Samhain also exhibits compassion when ghosts, goblins or trolls are threatened and will fight to aid them. His biggest weakness is captivity, which renders him nearly powerless.


Since his debut, Samhain has made many appearances throughout the Ghostbusters franchise, he was one of the ghosts to make a cameo appearance on the second opening theme song and even made an appearance on the Extreme Ghostbusters theme song and end song (though never appeared in any actual episodes). He also made numerous cameo appearances throughout the show. Samhain has also appeared in the Now Ghostbusters Comics in two comics, and was mentioned in three other comics. He was also the only ghosts from Extreme Ghostbusters (other than Slimer) to receive a toy. Likewise, the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man was the only ghost in The Real Ghostbusters to receive a toy other than Slimer.


Secondary Canon[]

In Ghostbusters: The Board Game, Samhain is a Class 6.


As the Ghost of Halloween, Samhain is a very formidable foe for the Ghostbusters. He is legendary and a number of ghosts seem somewhat terrified of him. Samhain possesses the ability to halt time and cause eternal night. He has attempted to use this power at various times, but is always defeated by the Ghostbusters in the end and his spell is broken. Samhain also has the ability to control entire legions of ghosts, though it is unknown if he controls them himself or they obey him out of fear. The latter may be the most possible as Slimer seemed to drawn by force to him yet did not seem to want to obey him. Samhain also possess an ability to fire black lighting, as he fired one at Peter Venkman and the other Ghostbusters during their first encounter. His powers seem to be at their highest point on Halloween as the Ghostbusters were being overworked with a huge increase in ghost activity. Samhain's only real weakness seems to be captivity, as it is the only way to prevent him from halting the night forever. While captive, Samhain is virtually powerless to escape, though he can be released should his prison come in contact with an infinity symbol. He also can be warded off by light as a number of ghosts can. This weakness was used against him during his first encounter with the Ghostbusters and they attempted to use it against him during his second coming.


Primary Canon[]


Samhain mainly uses other ghosts, specifically Goblins, to aid him on his mission, however he is usually aided by Two Goblin Minions.

Secondary Canon[]


Samhain is also allied with the Trolls.

Based on Folklore[]

Samhain's name comes from the old term. The Samhain term is another word for Halloween in a few Gaelic languages. The Scottish Gaelic spelling is Samhainn or Samhuinn (for the feast), or an t-Samhain (for the month). The Festival of Samhain is a celebration of the end of the harvest season in Gaelic culture, and is generally regarded as 'The Celtic New Year'.

The same word was used for a month in the ancient Celtic calendar, in particular the first three nights of this month, with the festival marking the end of the summer season and the end of the harvest. A modernized version of this festival continues today in some of the traditions of the Catholic All Souls' Day, the secular Halloween, and in folk practices of Samhain itself in the Celtic Nations and the Irish and Scottish diasporas. It is also observed by various types of Neopagans.

Wikipedia has more information and the correct way to pronounce it.


Samhain is the type of character to take direct action, led solely by his mission. Samhain believes that ghosts have been treated unfairly in this world due to people like the Ghostbusters. He is guided by a mission to give ghosts like him a world where they rule and humans are the less dominant ones. Unlike many villains the Ghostbusters have faced, he has compassion for the ghosts he commands as he refers to them as his "little ones."[25] He is willing to enter a battle and protect his minions if he feels they are being harmed. However despite his compassion, he is willing to use some force if they do not cooperate with him, as he threatened to dissipate Slimer when he refused to attack the humans and took him hostage when he recognized the close relationship between him and the Ghostbusters. Samhain's interactions with Slimer show a darker and tyrannical side to his personality, as he shows contempt for one of his "little ones" disobeying his orders and attempting to coexist peacefully with humans (though this may be because the group of humans that Slimer associates with are the Ghostbusters, who Samhain hates for hunting ghosts) and tries to convince Slimer that it is a futile endeavor and that he can only be home amongst Samhain's legions. When this fails, he is willing to destroy Slimer, although he expresses regret about having to do so.

Physical Description[]

Primary Canon[]

Samhain's appearance has been altered numerous times throughout the franchise. In his first appearance, he had worn a brown cloak with a large collar. His pumpkin head also had pupils in in its eyes, teeth and gums. The rest of his body was colored orange. After his first appearance, his eyes were made into empty pumpkin eyes and his cloak was made purple; he remained this way throughout all his cameos.

When Samhain returned in "Halloween II 1/2" as the main villain, his cloak was changed back to brown, but his eyes still lacked pupils. In the second intro to the show and his cameos in the episodes "Partners in Slime" and "Jailbusters", Samhain wore a purple cloak and had white skeleton hands.

When Samhain appeared in the opening and end credits for Extreme Ghostbusters, his appearance was greatly altered. His pumpkin head became smaller and was colored green, with the inside glowing blue and his face sporting a carrot-like nose. His cloak was colored red and had a smaller collar. His skin parts were colored like human flesh.

Even though he never appeared in the show, Samhain was given a figure in the Extreme Ghostbusters toyline. However, the toy did not resemble his appearance on the show's intro. Instead, the toy featured a black cloak that looked more like a cape while the rest of Samhain featured an under robe. Samhain's flesh parts were a ghoulish white color. His pumpkin head was huge and orange like the way he originally appeared on The Real Ghostbusters. However, his head could come off to reveal a hideous eyeball and teeth.

Secondary Canon[]

In the Now Ghostbusters comic book series, Samhain's pumpkin appeared more wrinkled and freighting than in the show. Samhain's cloak was also purple at all times, never brown. Samhain's hands were also green instead of orange like in the show. Samhain also had a green skinny neck that held up his pumpkin, something that was never shown in the T.V. series.

Unanswered Topics[]

Samhain's link to the Halloween Deal or Boogaloo was never explored.

See Also[]


  • Fitting the Irish roots of his legend, Samhain speaks in a slight Irish accent, though it occasionally slips into his voice actor's natural American accent.
  • Samhain was one of the few ghosts to be slimed by Slimer.
  • Samhain did not appear in "The Halloween Door" nor the Slimer! episode "Sweet Revenge" both of which also took place during Halloween.
  • On page 10 of Ghostbusters Issue #3, Samhain makes a non-canon cameo on a poster.
  • On page 23 of Ghostbusters Issue #5, Samhain is referred to in the Sam Hain PCOC file. It is stated Hain based his stage name on Samhain, a Celtic witch-god worshiped largely by practitioners of black magic in the Middle Ages.
  • In Ghostbusters Issue #14, there are several non-canon references to Samhain.
    • Page 4: The periodical Janine is reading mentions and has a photo of the relic that served as Samhain's prison.
    • Page 19: The Infinity Symbol, used to free Samhain in "When Halloween Was Forever," is in the lower left part of the board.
    • Page 19: A photo of Samhain marked Class 11 is also in the lower left part of the board.
  • Samhain makes a cameo on a special sketch cover of Ghostbusters #9.
  • Samhain is referenced on the back cover of Mars Attacks The Real Ghostbusters.
  • On page nine of Ghostbusters Volume 2 Issue #9, Samhain makes a non-canon cameo on a photograph on Egon's board then is mentioned by Egon on page 16.[26]
  • On the subscription cover of Ghostbusters Volume 2 Issue #13, Samhain makes a non-canon cameo.
  • On the Convention Cover of Ghostbusters: Get Real Issue #1, Samhain makes a non-canon cameo below Thole.
  • On February 16, 2015, the 8th stretch goal of Ghostbusters: The Board Game, $600,000, was introduced: Samhain.[27]
  • On February 18, 2015, Samhain was unlocked.[28]
  • On Samhain's character card in Ghostbusters: The Board Game
    • The caption on the photograph quotes Egon's "This night will never end" line from The Real Ghostbusters episode "When Halloween Was Forever".
  • On page 38 of Ghostbusters Annual 2015, a new version of Samhain makes his debut in the IDW canon.
  • In Ghostbusters Annual 2017, on page 44, in panel 3, to Pagan's left is a book about Samhain.
  • On page 2 of Ghostbusters Annual 2018, in panel 3, carved atop the pedestal is the Wheel of the Year. One circle represents life and the other represents death. Joined, they become infinity. In "When Halloween Was Forever", the two goblins released Samhain with the symbol.
  • On page 9 of Annual 2018, on the bottom of right page is Samhain from the Extreme Ghostbusters Intro.
  • On page 10 of Annual 2018, in panel 5, right of Jenny Moran on the counter is a miniature of the relic Samhain was freed from in "When Halloween Was Forever".
  • On page 14 of Annual 2018, Ron Alexander tells Ray Stantz he's not pronouncing Samhain right, as was the case in The Real Ghostbusters.
  • Samhain appears on the IDW Convention Variant cover of 35th Anniversary: The Real Ghostbusters.
  • On page 4 of Ghostbusters 35th Anniversary: The Real Ghostbusters, the mobile has a figure of Samhain.


Primary Canon[]

The Real Ghostbusters

Extreme Ghostbusters

Secondary Canon[]

New Ghostbusters II Video Game

  • There were regular enemies that resembled him.

NOW Comics

Ghostbusters 2006 mobile phone game

  • As in the New Ghostbusters II NES game, there are regular enemies resembling him.

IDW Comics

Cryptozoic Entertainment


  1. Samhain shares the same name as the Celtic festival 'samhain', which is properly pronounced SAH-win or sow-en, but the series pronounces the character name as it is spelled, Sam Hain.


  1. Eatock, James and Mangels, Andy (2009). The Real Ghostbusters Complete Collection Booklet, p. 4. CPT Holdings, Inc. Line reads: "William E. Martin is the voice of Samhain and Julie Bennett is UBN Reporter Cynthia Crawford."
  2. Marsha Goodman (1987). Episode Call Sheet and SAG Report - "Halloween II 1/2" (1987).
  3. Samhain (2009). The Real Ghostbusters - "When Halloween Was Forever" (1986) (DVD ts. 13:39-13:42). Time Life Entertainment. Samhain says: "I am Samhain."
  4. J. Michael Straczynski (2009). The Real Ghostbusters DVD Box Set - "When Halloween Was Forever" Episode Introduction (2009) (DVD ts. 00:34-00:45). Time Life Entertainment. J. Michael Straczynski says: "Many people call it 'Sam-hīn'. It's not 'Sam-hīn'. It's 'Sow-en' and you at home should now practice with me saying 'Sow-en'."
  5. Ray Stantz (2009). The Real Ghostbusters - "When Halloween Was Forever" (1986) (DVD ts. 03:55-03:59). Time Life Entertainment. Ray says: "Seventh century Ireland? That's where Halloween started!"
  6. Ray Stantz (2009). The Real Ghostbusters - "When Halloween Was Forever" (1986) (DVD ts. 13:48-13:56). Time Life Entertainment. Ray says: "Of course! Halloween started as the Feast of Samhain. Samhain was supposed to be a creature of night who no one could stop...oh, boy."
  7. Samhain (2009). The Real Ghostbusters - "When Halloween Was Forever" (1986) (DVD ts. 14:01-14:04). Time Life Entertainment. Samhain says: "I was trapped in stone for so many centuries."
  8. Egon Spengler (2009). The Real Ghostbusters - "When Halloween Was Forever" (1986) (DVD ts. 03:44-03:54). Time Life Entertainment. Egon says: "P.K.E. readings have been increasing all month across the city. They took a real jump when some ancient ruins from Ireland arrived two weeks ago. Ruins date from the seventh century."
  9. Samhain (2009). The Real Ghostbusters - "When Halloween Was Forever" (1986) (DVD ts. 09:43-09:57). Time Life Entertainment. Samhain says: "Much to do to make sure Halloween never ends. That from this moment on, the world shall know only eternal night."
  10. Egon Spengler (2009). The Real Ghostbusters - "When Halloween Was Forever" (1986) (DVD ts. 15:24-15:26). Time Life Entertainment. Egon says: "It's the light! It drove him off."
  11. Egon Spengler (2009). The Real Ghostbusters - "When Halloween Was Forever" (1986) (DVD ts. 15:29-15:34). Time Life Entertainment. Egon says: "It hates light. All we have to do is turn on all the lights in the city. That will weaken him enough to--"
  12. Dyb Devlin (2009). The Real Ghostbusters - "The Devil to Pay" (1987) (DVD ts. 16:04-16:09). Time Life Entertainment. Dyb says: "You fought him last year and now he's back for a grudge match."
  13. Egon Spengler (2009). The Real Ghostbusters - "Halloween II 1/2" (1987) (DVD ts. 17:00-17:02). Time Life Entertainment. Egon says: "That's it. That's the keystone!"
  14. Egon Spengler (2009). The Real Ghostbusters - "Halloween II 1/2" (1987) (DVD ts. 17:04-17:07). Time Life Entertainment. Egon says: "It marks the dead center of where our Containment Unit used to be."
  15. Egon Spengler (2009). The Real Ghostbusters - "Halloween II 1/2" (1987) (DVD ts. 17:08-17:11). Time Life Entertainment. Egon says: "We get the kids out then concentrate our beams here and the fortress will collapse."
  16. Samhain (1990). NOW Comics- "The Real Ghostbusters Volume 1 Issue #17" (1990) (Comic p.12). Samhain says: "In the name of the Druid god, Muck Olla, I call upon the powers of eternal night to stalk the world in this final and eternal festival of Samhain!"
  17. Samhain (1990). NOW Comics- "The Real Ghostbusters Volume 1 Issue #17" (1990) (Comic p.19). Samhain says: "To fail again would risk being abandoned by the Celtic deities!"
  18. Narrator (1990). NOW Comics- "The Real Ghostbusters Volume 1 Issue #18" (1990) (Comic p.2). Narrator says: "And, if that wasn't pain enough Samhain returned with legions tough."
  19. Egon Spengler (1990). NOW Comics- "The Real Ghostbusters Volume 1 Issue #19" (1990) (Comic p.13). Egon says: "And sure enough, this Troll had been one of Samhain's henchmen who rebelled and was banished from Trolldom as a result."
  20. Troll (1990). NOW Comics- "The Real Ghostbusters Volume 1 Issue #19" (1990) (Comic p.13). Troll says: "Samhain is big with us Trolls, but I thought he went too far."
  21. Egon Spengler (1990). NOW Comics- "The Real Ghostbusters Volume 1 Issue #26" (1990) (Comic p.6). Egon says: "Before Samhain opened the unit last year, the computer recorded 7,387 entities in the confines of the warped space."
  22. Samhain (1993). NOW Comics- "The Real Ghostbusters Annual 1993" (1993) (Comic p.5). Samhain says: "Now is the time for me to shatter the barrier between the worlds of the living and the dead. I will focus the power of terror... the terror of children. With the barrier gone, I will absorb the energies released and become all-powerful!"
  23. Samhain (1993). NOW Comics- "The Real Ghostbusters Annual 1993" (1993) (Comic p.7). Samhain says: "In just a few more seconds, the barrier will be at its weakest, and my power will be at its zenith!"
  24. Egon Spengler (1993). NOW Comics- "The Real Ghostbusters Annual 1993" (1993) (Comic p.9). Egon says: "We used our Proton Packs to form a makeshift containment field. It let energy in, but not out. All we had to do was wait until Samhain suffered an ectoplasmic overload."
  25. Samhain (2009). The Real Ghostbusters - "When Halloween Was Forever" (1986) (DVD ts. 08:30-08:31). Time Life Entertainment. Samhain says: "My little ones."
  26. Egon Spengler (2013). IDW Comics- "Ghostbusters Volume 2 Issue #9" (2013) (Comic p.16). Egon Spengler says: "They were also used for lanterns in celebration of Halloween and"
  27. Ghostbusters: The Board Game Update #13 2/16/15 "Going downtown?"
  28. Ghostbusters: The Board Game Update #14 2/18/15 "Trick or Treat?"
  29. Samhain XGB Main Title by Fil Barlow deviantArt 8/15/12



Primary Canon[]

Secondary Canon[]

Non Canon[]

Images provided by Paul Rudoff with permission from Nora Salisbury of The Ghostbusters Fan Forum, co-run with the late Doreen Mulman