13 of the Best Places to Celebrate Halloween Around the World
For more than a century, Halloween has been heralded as a major holiday in the United States, as people celebrate all things that go bump in the night. Initially a pagan holiday, All Hallows' Eve will find children trick-or-treating in their spookiest costumes and adults attending parties in homes and clubs lit by jack-o'-lanterns and orange bulbs shining through a fog of cobwebs. The United States, however, isn't the only place to celebrate the season. Continue reading to find out how people observe Halloween and other Fall holidays all around the world.
While Halloween is now widely celebrated throughout the world, its origins can be traced back to the Celts of the British Isles, so it's no surprise that Ireland throws quite the party. Celebrations in Ireland include fortune-telling, bonfires, eating traditional fruitcakes, and, of course, dressing in costume. For a most epic experience, Ireland's Derry City hosts the Banks of Foyle Halloween Carnival, the biggest Halloween festival in all of Europe. From dancing and haunted houses to scary movies, parades, and family-friendly activities, Ireland knows how to celebrate All Hallows' Eve.
For a spooky Halloween, where better to celebrate than the home of the original vampire himself, Count Dracula? Every year, fearless tourists flock to Transylvania and Bran Castle (the castle of the prince who inspired the story behind Dracula) to celebrate Halloween with costume parties and even actors playing out Dracula-inspired scenes. While Halloween is not a public holiday in Romania, a similar celebration takes place every year on Nov. 30, St. Andrew's Night. The holiday honors the country's saint but also includes many elements of Halloween, like busting out garlic to ward off ghosts and evil souls.
New York City
New York City knows how to party, and the same rule applies for Halloween. From countless costume parties to haunted houses that will shake any brave soul to their core, NYC is the place to be. The most exciting event of all is the Greenwich Village Halloween Parade, which starts at sundown and goes well into the night. Hundreds celebrate in full-fledged costumes, marching as bands play and artists dance. Aside from the parade, costumed partygoers can attend live shows, hit up one of the city parks, or catch a scary movie beneath a full moon.
Many cities and towns in Austria celebrate Halloween with pumpkins, parades, and parties. The holiday is relatively new in the home of the wiener schnitzel but is growing in popularity every year. Traditionally, Austrians set a table with a lighted lamp, bread, and water before going to sleep, with the hope of welcoming dead souls back to Earth on the magical night.
Salem has one of America's spookiest histories and is the ultimate place to experience a haunted adventure. Infamous for its witch trials in 1692, Salem has attracted ghost hunters for centuries. The seaside New England town celebrates Halloween for an entire month, kicking off the holiday with a massive parade in early October and concluding with a magical fireworks display on Halloween night. Throughout the month, visitors can participate in carnival rides, visit haunted houses, go on paranormal tours, attend the famous Witches' Halloween Ball, and meet with world-renowned psychics and mediums.
Halloween celebrations began in Canada in the 1800s when Irish and Scottish immigrants settled in the Great White North. From parties and trick-or-treating to carving jack-o'-lanterns and decorating homes with pumpkins and cornstalks, Canada's Halloween is quite similar to the one celebrated in the United States.
Halloween is more of an "adult" holiday in Japan. The tradition began with the wonder of spectating at Tokyo Disneyland, and over the years, it took off with fans of cosplay. Costume parties, the Kawasaki Halloween Parade, and festivities in bars and clubs have, in recent years, become more popular in Japan.
Considered to be one of the most haunted cities in the United States, New Orleans is a no-brainer when it comes to Halloween. The party scene cannot be beat, and with a deep history of the occult and picturesque cemeteries, New Orleans is the place to be for a spine-chilling thrill. From Halloween parties and parades on Bourbon Street to the famous Voodoo Music Festival, there are endless activities for anyone who enjoys All Hallows' Eve.
La Fete d'Halloween is considered an "American" holiday in France. However, the holiday is observed by many with parties and costume events. Halloween is often celebrated at house parties and in pubs, bars, restaurants, and clubs, with costumes leaning more toward the scary side, instead of the cutesy or sexy side often seen in the United States. Trick-or-treating is very rare in France, but when it does occur, children go from store to store rather than house to house. Paris gets extra visitors at this time of year, as people tend to tour its spooky catacombs and a rare pumpkin patch exists just outside the city. Because, what is Halloween without a jack-o'-lantern?
Hong Kong has fiercely embraced Halloween and is considered the Halloween Capital of Asia. Parties at theme parks like Disneyland and Ocean Park roar with crowds, but the most famed party of all is the Lan Kwai Fong Halloween Street Party. The entire neighborhood becomes one wild dance floor, complete with festive costumes, food, and drink.
Halloween has become a major family event in Belgium. Most cities and villages hold massive festivals complete with spooky decor, parades, costume parties, and trick-or-treating. Halloween in Brussels is particularly exciting, as countless events for both youngsters and adults take over the city. However, Halloween is still considered an American holiday, and the traditional way to celebrate is to light candles in memory of loved ones who have passed.
In Italy, Halloween celebrations vary throughout the country, with people visiting catacombs and bobbing for apples in Rome, going on ghost tours and pub crawls in Florence, and dressing in costume and visiting haunted islands in Venice. Corinaldo calls itself the Italian Capital of Halloween, with endless spooky attractions accompanied by the Night of Withces festival of fire, lights, and music that take place on the evening of Oct. 31.
Halloween is a relatively new holiday in Sweden, with celebrations starting in the 1990s. By the start of November, Winter begins creeping in and darkness arrives quite early in the day, making Halloween a welcome diversion from the Winter that lies ahead. Celebrated mostly by children and teenagers, pumpkin carving and trick-or-treating have become particularly popular as the holiday continues to boom. Parties rage on in homes, restaurants, and pubs, all of which are decorated for the occasion.