Halloween traditions vary around the world, from trick or treating to remembrance ceremonies, scary costumes to ghost tours around haunted locations. If you love getting in the spooky spirit of Halloween, here are some of our favourite locations for celebrating around the world for you to add to your bucket list!
Halloween was born in Ireland, referred to as ‘Samhain Night’ which marks the end of harvest and the start of the darker half of the year. Derry is home to the largest celebration and was crowned Best Halloween Destination in the World by USA Today in 2016. The Banks of the Foyle Halloween Carnival is filled with exciting events from fireworks to horror stories, scary movies to ghost tours and haunted houses.
Salem’s connection to Halloween began with the Salem Witch Trials in 1962, where 19 individuals lost their lives after wrongly being accused of witchery. In 1982 the Haunted Happenings Festival began and has become an annual event lasting an entire month, drawing visitors from all over the world. Members of the modern pagan and witch community share their beliefs and practices, while a vast variety of family-friendly and scarier activities are enjoyed by residents and guests.
What better place to celebrate Halloween than the home of Count Dracula! Discover the truth about the legend of Vlad the Impaler with a unique itinerary that will make sure you have a 31st October like no other. Take a trip through the region’s eerie history on a special Halloween tour whilst visiting grand palaces, absorb the mystical atmosphere in the famous Bran Castle and spend the night partying in the medieval Hunyad’s Castle.
Manhattan, New York
The city that never sleeps is a classic choice for a Halloween celebration. 2 million people a year flock to The Village Halloween Parade, the city’s biggest and most vibrant party. Members of the public are invited to join the parade (if you’re in costume!) to participate in a hugely creative celebration of life whilst honouring the dead. Expect the craziest costumes you’ve ever seen! As well as the parade, there are always endless haunted houses, costumes parties and thrilling events at museums, zoos and more!
London has boundless festivities occurring over the Halloween period, which include some of the spookiest in the UK. Take a guided after dark ghost tour through graveyards and famous murder sites and discover the capital’s sinister history. The Jack the Ripper Walk is another hauntingly fun experience, led by a crime historian through the unidentified serial killer’s old spots. London Dungeons is also a great visit, with a fantastic programme of events delivering frights for the whole family.
Dia de los Muertos, or Day of the Dead, should not be confused with Halloween as it is a completely different festivity. However, it does fall at the end of October and it is an incredible event to witness. The tradition dates back 3000 years to the Aztecs, where they celebrate loved ones who have passed away and believe their souls return to earth to be reunited with them for one night. Each town celebrates in their own unique way but you can be sure to expect brightly coloured altars and decorations, huge street parties and parades, and beautiful feasts in people’s homes and cemeteries.