Do you celebrate Halloween? This scary tradition has arrived at all corners of the world during the last decades – it is, after all, a very attractive holiday for children. However, Halloween in Europe has other traditions and celebrations during the same days, as there are many the cultures who celebrate All Saints’ Day. But what’s the difference between the two of them?

 

Well, there are many differences and, at the same time, not so many of them. All Saint’s Day is a Christian festival to honour the saints and the dead. Halloween is the evening prior to the 1st of November, All Saints’ Day, and it is a contraction of All Hallows Day. It is thought that Halloween originated in ancient Celtic harvest festivals of pagan nature, Samhain particularly, and that was later Christianised by the Church; however, that remains a theory. Nonetheless, that theory would explain the different atmosphere of the scary, fun Halloween and the more solemn All Saints’ Day.

 

Halloween traditions include dressing up in scary costumes, trick-or-treating, watching scary movies or telling scary stories, lighting bonfires or carving pumpkins with terrifying faces, the famous jack-o-lanterns. However, even if those traditions have been extended to many countries, Halloween in Europe has many different forms and many other interesting celebrations. Let’s take a tour around the most interesting!

Halloween in Europe

Halloween in Europe: Londonderry, Ireland

We all know that the Irish like to celebrate big, and the town of Londonderry organises the biggest Halloween party in the country. If you’re looking for a long, Halloween-themed trip, this is a good option, as their Halloween celebrations last the whole week. You’ll be able to see owl exhibits, a cool and original Halloween-themed thing, watch horror movie marathons and attend ghost stories evenings, among many other scary activities. It sounds fun, doesn’t it?

Halloween in Europe: Edinburgh, Scotland

As Ireland, Scotland is also a wonderful place to celebrate a Halloween with a taste of the past, considering its relationship with the Celtic festival of Samhaim. The dark and beautiful city of Edinburg is still full of festivities and is a perfect setting for a somewhat scary holiday. The city organises a ton of activities during Halloween and the previous day, including scary tours, ghost stories events and much, much more.

Book one of these “ghostly” tours!

Halloween in Europe: Transylvania, Romania

Out of all the creepy spots around the world, Transylvania has the talent of making us cringe just hearing its name. After all, this beautiful Romanian region is known to us all for being the place of origin of prince Vlad Dracula. You can visit his home, the Castle of Sighisoara, and be scared to death on Halloween, as you should be! As you probably know, the mysterious sounds and shadows of the castle are part of the reason why the legend of Dracula being “alive” is so strong, so if you’re looking for a trip full of fear, this might just be the best option. Besides, the Sighisoara Caslte isn’t the only scary option of Transylvania. During the day, you can visit the incredibly beautiful (but still creepy!) haunted forest of Hoia Baciu. Are you ready?

Halloween in Europe

Halloween in Europe: Ostend, Belgium

It may not be a famous Halloween destination, but the inhabitants of the “City by the Sea” do take Halloween seriously. This beautiful town is thoroughly decorated and offers a lot of different and scary activities for all ages and tastes. They start their Halloween celebrations earlier than any other city in Europe, so it is a good option for a longer trip as well!

Halloween in Europe: Chalindrey, France

This beautiful French town has a special relationship with Halloween as well, thanks to their fête des sorcières, that is, the witch party. Many consider Chalindrey as Europe’s Salem due to its past relationship with witchcraft. Celebrating Halloween in the medieval fortress of Cognelot will be an experience you’ll never forget, as you will be able to see a recreation of medieval witch hunts. A different nonetheless unforgettable Halloween!

Halloween in Europe

Are you ready to enjoy Halloween in Europe to the fullest? Remember that this is a very special festivity, in which many different cultures celebrate their departed in a very different way, depending on their own culture and traditions. You could make a big trip out of it and go to Mexico to celebrate the famous Day of the Dead, one of Mexico’s most important festivities, a celebration of the departed that was acknowledged as an Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity by the UNESCO. But if you can’t afford a big trip right now, there are many special places where to celebrate Halloween in Europe. Does your hometown do something special for Halloween? Tell us about it in the comments section!

Author
At GowithOh, we are an enthusiastic team of self-confessed Europhiles who are passionate about travel. We especially love the variety of city breaks possible in Europe, from the historic UNESCO heritage cities like Prague, to the more cosmopolitan beachside destinations like Barcelona. We love discovering the hidden gems in different cities and sharing them with our fans so everyone can benefit and enjoy the perfect city break in Europe.