While American-style Halloween is becoming more and more popular around the world, most countries have had a similar tradition for years. Find out where you should go next to experience Halloween abroad!
To find the origin of Halloween, you definitely must visit Ireland. The Celts, who lived in the region that is now Ireland, celebrated their new year on the 1st of November. This day, called Samhain by the Celts, is what we now know as Halloween.
Ireland celebrates Halloween by hosting several big events on October 31st and the surrounding days. One of the biggest Halloween festivals has been held for over 32 years in the city of Derry. The medieval walls of the town create the perfect scenery to celebrate a truly haunted Halloween. From the 26th of October till the 3rd November the city is a spooky Halloween town with horror shows, a Haunted Harvest Market, Carnival Parade, Samhain Sessions and an illuminated animation trail featuring over 30 installations and performances by local and international artists.
Prague, Czech Republic
Since the Celts have also lived in the region that is now the Czech Republic, Halloween is also a big part of Czech culture. Halloween is called Dusicky in Czech and does not get celebrated in the Czech Republic on October 31st but on November 2nd. Rather than trick-or-treating or wearing spooking costumes, many Czechs visit the cemeteries of their relatives and decorate them with flowers and candles. While this tradition does not include parties and parades, it is certainly worth visiting Prague’s beautiful cemeteries on this day.
On October 31st, you may find some smaller celebrations of Halloween in Mexico. However, shortly after Halloween, Mexico celebrates Día de los Muertos (Day of the Dead). Even though this day is about the deceased, it is not a Mexican interpretation of Halloween. Día de los Muertos is a day to express respect and love for any deceased family members.
Día de los Muertos is recognized by UNESCO and each city celebrates their deceased in a different way. In Mérida, the celebration is centered around traditional cooking and Mayan ceremonies will be held. Oaxaca will have altars, parades and sand-based memorials. In San Miguel de Allende you will be able to party at the La Calaca Festival for five days straight, surrounded by public altars and processions, but also live performances and dance parties.
United States of America
Halloween was not a recognized holiday in America before the mass immigration of the Irish. Over the years, Halloween has become largely commercialized and includes trick-or-treating, costume parties, carving pumpkins and decorating the house and its surroundings. Holiday parties are held throughout the country, so you will be fine in pretty much any city!
London, Amsterdam and Seoul
Halloween is not a traditional holiday in England, The Netherlands or South Korea. However, if you are looking to do Halloween-themed party activities like pub crawls, booze cruises and costume contests you’ll be absolutely fine in any of these cities. Each of these cities has their own special events on Halloween, like the Zombie Walk Seoul, Ghost tours and the Londen Crystal Maze Halloween Edition.
Whenever you’re looking for a traditional celebration, party activities or right in between, Halloween is a great holiday to spend abroad. What is your favorite place to celebrate Halloween?