By Soren Rivero
Halloween is a beloved holiday to some and a fearful one to others. Whether or not you celebrate the holiday, you can’t deny how much influence it has on many societies around the globe.
If you’re interested in learning how Halloween is celebrated around the world, here's a list of a few countries that love the holiday!
Come mid-September, Halloween decorations and other paraphernalia flood stores across the country in preparation for the spooky season. Restaurants, coffee shops, and other businesses also begin to center some of their menu items and events around this widely-celebrated October holiday. One of the unique things about Halloween in the U.S. is how diverse the holiday can be. In some other parts of the world, Halloween is seen mostly as a kid’s holiday meant for candy, fun events, and costumes. But even adults living in the U.S. join in on the fun by enjoying Halloween-themed parties, going to haunted houses, cosplaying, and more.
Canadians celebrate Halloween in a very similar way to their neighbors down south. Kids walk the streets in costumes for trick or treating on Halloween night, and adults dress up for Halloween-themed parties. You’ll even see local businesses and/or schools hosting pumpkin carving contests, costume contests, live readings, and other events around Canada.
Halloween is celebrated primarily on October 31st in Mexico, and Spanish-speakers call this the "Día de las Brujas" which translates to “day of the witches.” The holiday is mostly geared towards children. You’ll see kids dressing up in costumes and partaking in some good old fashioned trick or treating. Instead of saying “trick or treat” though, kids living in Mexico yell “Queremos Halloween!” translating to “we want Halloween". Adults also dress up and attend parties, though it is not as common as the U.S. and Canada. The real festivities come in during the following week, when the extremely significant Día de los Muertos arrives on November 1st and 2nd. This lovely holiday celebrates the deceased family members of Mexican people, and it overshadows Halloween in Mexico by a large margin.
Compared to the countries across the Atlantic Oceans, Halloween in the United Kingdom really isn’t that big of a deal. It has increased in popularity within recent years with trends of the Americanized Halloween making it over to the UK However, kids scarcely dress up in costumes to go trick or treating as they do in the U.S. and Canada. Adults also attend themed-parties, but the costumes in the UK are almost always something ‘scary’ (witches, ghouls, zombies, horror figures). Some people across the UK also honor the holiday’s Celtic traditions by partaking in Samhain celebrations. Northern Ireland has a long 4-day Halloween festival as well. Altogether, Halloween celebrations pale in comparison to the more famous holiday, Guy Fawkes Day.
Halloween in Australia is growing as a widely-celebrated holiday, but it’s going to take some more time until it becomes as ingrained into Australian culture as it is in the U.S. or Canada – considering some Australians even think of the holiday as a very "American" thing. Regardless, some traditions have passed over. Kids go in organized groups with their parents on trick or treating runs, adults attend parties, businesses host events, and so on. Cinemas will also host Halloween-themed screenings or marathons. Ghost tours and parties at haunted buildings are popular among thrill seekers, as well!
Halloween in India is celebrated lightly and with the sole intention of being something fun. India officials and religious folk have criticized the holiday for celebrating the departure of the dead, as it goes against some of their customs. Still, Halloween as a purely-for-fun holiday is rapidly gaining popularity in India. In the more urbanized cities such as Delhi and Mumbai, businesses host Halloween parties and kids’ events where they can dress up and eat candy. Some restaurants even serve Halloween-themed dishes! Similar to the westernized holidays of Christmas and Valentine’s Day, Halloween is a cherished holiday in India that has not been officially integrated into the country’s culture.
Across all the European countries, Ireland likely has the largest and most exciting Halloween traditions. Because of the holiday’s deep roots in Celtic culture, the holiday almost never went away. It all starts with the Samhain traditions... In ancient Ireland, Samhain happened during the end of summer and start of winter. Between these two periods, the mortal world would open up for the ghosts of the dead to return. Locals would light fires to ward off malicious spirits. After the mass integration of Christianity into Ireland around the 8th century, Samhain became somewhat synonymous with All Hallows’ Eve. Eventually, Ireland would adopt westernized Halloween alongside its traditions. Ireland now celebrates Halloween similarly to that of the United States, with trick or treating, large parties, carnivals, games, events, costumes, pranks, and more.
Which of these destinations would you want to celebrate Halloween?