Halloween is a holiday that is widely celebrated throughout the United States and other countries around the world. The spooky atmosphere, fun costumes, and tasty treats make Halloween a popular with people of all ages and backgrounds.
We know how people celebrate Halloween in America: costumes, haunting decorations, trick-or-treating, giving out candy! Keep reading to find out how other countries observe Halloween and related holidays.
Latin American countries celebrate Halloween for three days
Latin American countries (and Spain) celebrate a three-day festival from October 31 to November 2. Halloween, or All Hallow’s Eve, honors the dead that are thought to return to their homes the night of Halloween. People create altars and decorate the graves of their loved ones with candy, flowers, plants, and their loved ones’ favorite foods and drinks. November 1 is Día de los innocentes, or All Saints Day (day for all the children), and November 2 is Dia de los muertos, meaning Day of the Dead, or All Souls Day. Day of the Dead puts a positive spin on death, celebrating death and honoring their deceased loved ones. It is common for people to burn candles and incense to create a scent trail for the visiting spirits of their deceased relatives.
In the Philippines families visit cemeteries to honor the dead
In the Philippines, families honor their dead during a holiday called Pangangaluluwa, celebrated on the night of October 31 with a TV and movie screening marathon. Many people spend November 1 and 2 in cemeteries all day, commemorating their deceased loved ones. This practice of spending time in cemeteries creates solidarity as families remember and honor their dead family members, while cherishing spending time with their living loved ones. Many children go door-to-door in costumes, singing and asking for prayers for souls stuck in purgatory.
Japan’s Kawasaki Halloween parade draws over 100,000 spectators
Japan goes all out for Halloween with the Kawasaki Halloween parade in Tokyo. Over 2,000 people dress up in costumes and cosplay, with a crowd of over 100,000 watching.
Ireland parties hard on Halloween
In addition to trick-or-treating, in Ireland, Halloween is such a big deal that thousands of people attend a festival called Banks of the Foyle Hallowe’en Carnival, complete with fireworks, in Derry in Northern Ireland. Dublin also hosts a Halloween parade, and there are ghost tours at Malahide Castle, Ireland’s oldest inhabited castle, which is said to be haunted by five ghosts!
Transylvania, Romania lives it up at Bran Castle
Even though Bram Stoker’s novel Dracula is fiction, over 600,000 people each year visit its inspiration, Bran Castle, in Brasov in the Romanian region of Transylvania. There’s a party every Halloween that goes until four in the morning, complete with blood-themed cocktails, the sound of howling wolves, and plenty of partygoers in costume (with, of course, plenty of Draculas).
Spaniards make a special alcohol drink in a pumpkin
In Galicia, Spain, they celebrate Halloween with the Night of the Pumpkins (Noite dos Calacús) and drink queimada (or quemada), a hot alcohol drink made in a pumpkin and heated over a blue flame. The drink has Celtic roots, and traditionally, a spell to ward off evil spirits is also uttered.
Austrians leave out bread on Halloween
Many Austrians leave out bread and water on Halloween night as an offering to the dead (and sometimes a candle) to welcome them back to earth. They may even leave the lights on or put out a candle to help them navigate their way among the living.
Germans hide their kitchen knives
In a similarly protective gesture, Germans hide their kitchen knives on Halloween night so that spirits can’t use them to hurt themselves.
October 31 is the modern-day Wiccan New Year
Wiccans consider October 31 the Wiccan New Year, celebrating the change of season and welcoming the “dark part of the year,” a night in which the worlds of the living and dead blend. Wiccans may attempt to contact a deceased loved one on October 31. Also, the Wiccan New Year incorporates music, costumes, bonfires, and dancing, expanding off of ancient Celtic customs. Some Wiccans utilize an oracle and attempt to contact spirits about the future harvest and new year. Modern-day Wiccans exist all over the world.
However you celebrate, we hope you have a fun and enjoyable Halloween this year!