How these 7 European countries celebrate Halloween


The Halloween we know today has its roots in history, and it’s an amalgamation of various older festivals from different countries. It was probably a harvest festival, and honoring the dead later became part of the celebration.

The Celtic Festival of Samhain was traditionally held on November 1 and was a celebration marking the end of the harvest and welcoming the darker days of winter. Because this festival started the day before October 31, it’s a serious contender for the original Halloween.

This means that Halloween is not a uniform affair, and it is done differently in different countries, even in different parts of those countries. We’ll see how some European countries celebrate this scariest time of year.

Dawid K Photography /

1. Ireland

Discover the origins of Halloween and take part in the spooky festival of Puca in Ireland’s Ancient East. Halloween probably stems from the ancient Irish and Celtic tradition of Samhain, which is Old Irish for “the end of summer”, and it was believed to be a time of transition, when the veil between our world and the next fell and the spirits of all who have died since the last Night of Samhain have passed to the next life.

The festival celebrates the Celtic New Year with Halloween spirits, and visitors are invited to take part in the grisly events from October 23-31. Puca events and festivities take place in venues across County Meath and County Louth, with a mix of live music, comedy shows, light installations and fascinating local tours.

A scary night in Amsterdam
Amsterdam, Netherlands (Evaldas Jankauskas /

2. The Netherlands

If you are in Amsterdam, you will probably find Halloween parties all night long. The Dutch love to dress up to make the most of all the excuses to dress up and party. But Halloween is not traditionally celebrated in the Netherlands. In fact, in some parts of the country they celebrate a festival called Sint Maarten, which has so many similarities to Halloween that it’s impossible not to draw a parallel.

Sint Maarten, or Saint-Martin – sometimes called the funeral of Saint-Martin – is also celebrated in parts of Germany and other surrounding areas, and it falls on or around November 11. The Dutch are now taking a more modern approach to Halloween. and you will see the weirdest costumes and stamina for a party that you won’t see in a lot of other places.

Pro tip

Children in the Netherlands indulge in a much more joyful form of tricks or treats for this festival. They still go door to door to buy candy, but instead of threatening with a ride, they just sing songs while carrying paper lanterns.

Carisbrooke Castle (ian johnston /

3. England

Trick-or-treating is very popular in England, but as a country full of weird legends and ghostly tales, there are plenty of other events happening around this time of year as well. Almost all towns have a walk and ghost tours. Whitby is where Dracula is said to have come ashore, and London has haunted Victorian buildings with tales of the Ripper.

Head to the Isle of Wight and you’ll find an entire island full of ghosts! Stories of spooky events unfold at Carisbrooke Castle after dark as part of their ghost tour. Renowned ghost storytellers from the Isle of Wight will tell you tales of past horrors and supernatural sightings as you make your way through the castle, a deserted location save for a few lost souls.

Pro tip

Halloween parties are also becoming more and more popular in England, although the costumes tend to be more spooky than glamorous. Now you can get innovative treats for your party, which was unheard of just a few years ago. As the Halloween parties grow, Crosstown is one of the many candy makers that offer themed products. Their brand new “Trick or Treat Box” contains 15 Halloween dough balls and can be delivered to your door.

A street in Kilmarnock, Scotland
Kilmarnock, Scotland (jazman /

4. Scotland

All over Scotland people will be going out ‘dress up’ – that is, wearing a costume or ‘disguise’ – doing a sleight of hand and generally having a good time at this ghoulish party. But in a small Scottish town, they do things their own way. In the town of Kilmarnock, Halloween is celebrated on the last Friday of October, regardless of the date, and they call it “Killieween”.

Killieween dates back to the 1950s, although no one knows exactly how long this has been going on. The reasons behind this are believed to be related to the city’s industrial past. The last Friday of the month was payday, and town kids soon realized that was when most households had money to spare. The smart kids in Kilmarnock knew that if they went out to make treats that day, they would be more likely to get treats.

Pro tip

The Royal Marine Hotel, the charming Highland Coast Hotels stay in Brora, recently launched its Ghostly Walks on Coffin Road, allowing guests to venture along some of the most haunted roads combined with tales of death, loss and ghouls. Stroll along the old Coffin Road on a tour of the crumbling church and cemetery of Clyne Kirkton before ending on the beautiful shores of Loch Brora in Oldtown.

Formerly used as a road that transported the dead to their final resting place, it also served as an old motorable road and leads to the now peaceful and cleared township of Sallachy, where guests will also discover a mystical stone marked with a cut, an age Broch iron, and a hut circle.

A costume shop in Paris
Julien Jean Zayatz /

5. France

The French weren’t very fond of Halloween in the past and they only really started embracing it as a party and something to celebrate in the 1990s. Once they started they really did. begin.

Subvert the typically romantic Parisian allure, Paris generator hosts a spooky dress-up party, which ends around 2 a.m. The rooms are clad in candy, cobwebs, and spooky decor. Spooking guests in every corner, the reception floor becomes a spooky screen, showing horror movies all night long.

Encouraging guests to show up in their scariest state, Generator Paris will provide an overnight stay for the person wearing the scariest costume. Along with that, the Inn has a spooky take on classic American-style dining offerings, with a signature Halloween service – the Black Widow Cocktail. In quintessentially French style, Halloween in Paris is more about costume balls and things with style, rather than treats.

Pro tip

Although France is embracing Halloween, it’s slow and most parts of the country still don’t celebrate it at all. Once you’re out of Paris, you’re likely to find the vacation pass without anyone paying attention.

Candles on a grave on the day of the dead
Candles on a grave on the day of the dead (berni0004 /

6. Italy

Halloween may not be a recognized holiday in Italy, but All Hallow’s Eve is – the All Saints Eve celebration. All Saints’ Day is a holiday that Italians have been celebrating for years. In Italy it is known as “Tutti i Santi” or “La festa di Ognissanti”.

Since 1949, November 1 has been a public holiday in Italy and many businesses are closed. But the Italian celebrations do not end on November 1 and continue until November 2, which is the day of the dead (giorno dei morti) when Italians honor the lives of those who have died.

Many Italians will visit the graves of their loved ones on this day and as it approaches. There are other regional traditions around it. For example, in Lombardy, the tradition was to put a bottle of water in the kitchen for the dead to drink, while in Veneto, cookies are instead offered aptly named “ossi da morti” (bones of the dead). their relatives. . In Umbria, it is not cookies but cakes that are baked. Here, cakes known as “Stinchetti dei Morti” (shins of the dead) are shared and eaten. In Trentino Alto Adige, the bells ring to call the dead home and the table is set for them, as is also the case in Piemonte. Sinister.

Pro tip

These days you will find that many major Italian cities celebrate Halloween, perhaps through fancy dress parties at nightclubs or a ghost tour! But there is no doubt that some of the more traditional events are more interesting, and in parts of Italy witches are the center of attention. In Corinaldo, for example, in the Italian region of Marche, there is the “Festa delle Streghe” (Witches Festival), which culminates in Halloween. Or in Triora in Liguria, people hold celebrations and parties to remember the 16th century witch trials that took place there.

Bran Castle at night in Romania
Sergey Novikov /

7. Transylvania (Romania)

Of course, if you want to be truly authentic, you can head to Transylvania in Romania – the birthplace of Vlad the Impaler, the inspiration of Dracula. As expected, there are plenty of Halloween activities here to really scare you away, for example taking a tour of the country’s medieval castles, including the very castle where Vlad lived.

A highlight is the Halloween party at Bran Castle (aka Dracula’s Castle), where you can enjoy a traditional Transylvanian dinner with a famous Romanian DJ and participate in a costume contest.

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