Bring out your fake blood and pumpkins, because the festival of spooks is back again! Halloween is a festival of fun and fright that is very popularly celebrated across the world. It is a very unique festival that celebrates horror and also provides a brilliant opportunity to travel. It is very fascinating to see how different places and cultures give Halloween, primarily a western holiday, its own spin.
Let’s talk a little bit about the roots of Halloween…
It goes approximately 2000 years back. The Celts living in Ireland celebrated a festival by the name of Samhain on the 1st of November. It was believed that a day before this festival, the barrier between the living and the dead would become very thin and the dead would come back to visit earth as ghosts. Hence, people started keeping food and wine by doorsteps for them and would wear masks and scary get-ups to disguise themselves as fellow ghost. This day was later coined as ‘All Hallow’s Eve by the Church which eventually became Halloween. Halloween caught up in America and became a very popular festival there.
Now that we know a little background about the fascinating festivals of spooks, let’s look at some of the best places in the world to celebrate Halloween:
Best Places to Celebrate Halloween in the World
Here are the best places in the world to celebrate Halloween. Celebrate Halloween while watching the biggest Halloween function.
1. Derry, Ireland
What better way to celebrate a festival than in the country of its origin?
Derry in Ireland reportedly has the best Halloween celebrations in the world. There is plenty this city offers. Join in the world-renowned Halloween Street Carnival Parade. The parade is absolutely stunning with people decked in costumes participating from all over the world. Other attractions include Awakening the walls, Jack O Lantern Festival, Samhain Sessions, Monster Fair, etc.
2. Transylvania, Romania
Medieval palaces and castles dotted amongst dense, dark forests on the high mountains of Transylvania naturally set the right mood for Halloween.
Transylvania is also the home of everyone’s childhood nightmare, Vlad the Impaler aka Dracula. Several Dracula-themed tours are offered on the night of Halloween, including the tour of the spooky Bran Castle nested in the Carpathian mountains where he supposedly lived.
Transylvania has a lot of medieval castles, ruins, palaces, and Saxon fortress churches that are bustling with fun and spooky activities during Halloween.
3. Salem, USA
Also known as the ‘witch-city’, the witch trials of 1962 that happened in Salem have lent it a reputation for being spooky.
The city has several memorials dedicated to victims of the infamous witch trials that host a bunch of fun activities during Halloween. There are many fun tours and walks that explore the witch city at night. Have your future read by a psychic or catch a trial reenactment, there’s plenty to do.
Also, Read Best Places to Celebrate Christmas in Europe
4. Oaxaca, Mexico
Halloween is celebrated in Mexico as Diá de Los Muertos which translates into Day of the Dead. While Halloween is centered around ghosts, witches, zombies, Dracula, and other scary supernatural and paranormal figures, Diá de Los Muertos is actually about paying respects to our beloved ones who passed away. They strongly believe in accepting death instead of fearing it.
This festival has been very well portrayed in the very cute animated movie Coco that came out earlier this year.
People decorate the graves of their beloved ones with flowers, photos, and candles. Everyone spends the night in the graveyard and celebrates with food, drinks, and music.
This is a very unique celebration that one can find all over Latin America, but it is the town of Oaxaca that does it the best.
5. Hong Kong
Halloween wasn’t a part of Hong Kong’s tradition but the city has embraced it wholeheartedly. Hong Kong is now known as the Asian Capital City of Halloween. The Halloween celebrations here are a must-see.
The Halloween Bash hosted at Hong Kong’s Disneyland is the place to be. With people dressed in elaborate costumes and Halloween-themed rides and shows, one is sure to have a wonderful time.
If not Disneyland, then you can head over to Hong Kong’s biggest theme park Ocean Park’s Halloween celebration. Other attractions to consider are Dead Not Alive Party which is usually held at the Former Marine Police Headquarters and is very popular. There are several happening parties hosted in Lan Kwai Fong.
6. Tokyo, Japan
Halloween in Japan isn’t celebrated traditionally, with traditions such as ‘trick or treat the way they do in America. Instead, here people treat it more as a national holiday to dress up.
You will find the most elaborate costume parade in Shibuya on Halloween. People from all over the city participate, giving their best effort. As many as 1 million people participated last year. The place transforms itself into a party jungle with Halloween-themed parties happening everywhere.
If you want specifically want to go to a child-friendly parade to avoid any promiscuous costumes then you can head over to the daylight parades happening in Kagurazaka or Omotesando.
Japan’s Disneyland also holds grand Halloween celebrations.
7. New York, USA
New York, the city that never stops or sleeps is known for being one of the most happening places in the world. So, to know that New York throws the best Halloween celebrations in the world wouldn’t be surprising.
NY’s Village Halloween Parade which happens on 6th Avenue in Greenwich Village is one of the most exciting parades to attend. The Annual Halloween Festival and Costume is another fun event to check out. Horror houses, tours of haunted houses, horror shows and events, etc are in abundance this time around.
Scotland has Celtic origins and also has many rituals related to Samhain. In the Scottish tradition, scary faces sculpt into turnips to form lanterns that would scare off ghosts roaming in the witching hours. But now pumpkins become more popular in place of turnips. Scottish children roam around from door to door wearing costumes and carrying turnips lanterns for sweets or coins.
9. London, England
England is full of spooky castles and haunted locations and London has many dark dungeons, ancient buildings, and ghostly attractions. This is one of the perfect places where you can celebrate Halloween.
All Saints’ Day and All Souls’ Day are the two most important days in Italy, especially in Venice. People in Itlay celebrate Halloween by dressing up in scary costumes and visiting haunted islands. The Corinaldo is the Italian Capital of Halloween that has a fire festival on the evening of October 31 every year.
Despite being someone who gets spooked very easily and isn’t a massive fan of the genre of horror I love Halloween. It’s difficult to resist feeling the festive spirit. Huddling up with my friends and watching horror movies that I wouldn’t dare watch alone is so much fun.
I also enjoy the variety of pumpkin-flavored sweets and snacks that are offered around this time of the year. The pumpkin Spice Latte by Starbucks is one of my absolute favorites. However, the most fun I have is while dressing up for Halloween with my friends. This is the only time when my Pikachu costume is considered appropriate. What will you be dressing up for Halloween this year?