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  • A-Z of Halloween Traditions from Around the World

The A-Z of Global Halloween Traditions

Halloween is one of the most-loved occasions around the world, and each country seems to have their own way of celebrating it. If you’re planning to travel somewhere different this year, or you just want to find a little bit more about how people from different cultures do it, here’s your A-Z on Halloween traditions all across the globe.

A is for America – Americans are huge fans of Halloween – after all, most of the traditions we know today originated there – and this can certainly be seen if you ever visit any part of North America during October. Apart from decorating their homes from top to bottom in cobwebs, fake creepy-crawlies and pumpkins, people take part in throwing eggs and toilet paper on cars, houses and other buildings.

B is for Belgium – In this particular part of Europe, Belgians like to celebrate by having large Halloween festivals in cities such as Ostend. A popular and more sober tradition is to light a candle in memory of a deceased loved one.

C is for Cambodia – Since Halloween is a typical Western celebration, the people of Cambodia are only just opening up to the idea. They have a festival in September/October time when the gates of Hell supposedly open up and allow spirits to walk on the earth, so they are certainly no strangers to the supernatural. Traditionally, people will offer beans wrapped in banana leaves to their loved ones who have passed on. Many younger people of Cambodia take part in Halloween by telling each other ghost stories and dressing up as vampires or other spooky characters.

D is for Dubai – The famous Wild Wadi Waterpark in Dubai is home to the Spooktacular Halloween event each year, a masquerade ball which invites people of all ages to take part. Attendees can dress up as ghosts and witches, while outside of the water park, children can be seen between 3-7pm trick-or-treating.

E is for England – Halloween is celebrated by people of all ages across the UK. From club nights with Halloween themes to dress-down days at school for younger children, everyone likes to get in on the celebrations. Since Halloween originated from the Celtic festival Samhain, there are several traditions which came from this country. One of the most common is pumpkin carving – the pumpkin is carved into a shape, illuminated by a candle and left on the window to ward off evil spirits.

F is for Finland – Halloween isn’t celebrated in the same way many other Western countries celebrate (by dressing up and having parties). It is more a celebration of All Saint’s Day, which is the first Saturday after 30th October. Many Finnish people will go to the cemetery to remember their loved one who have passed away.

G is for Germany – It wasn’t until the 1990s that Halloween really took off in Germany, but they certainly like to get into the spirit of things early. From the beginning of October, Germans will start preparing their pumpkins and hanging lanterns around their houses and public areas.

H is for Hong Kong – Using their famous destinations such as Disneyland, Hong Kong likes to put on a big show for its residents and visitors by decorating large shopping centers and points of interest with Halloween-themed décor.

I is for Iceland – Children in this Scandinavian country are seen dressing up as witches, wizards, vampires, ghosts and many other spooky costumes in the lead-up to Halloween. The popular American Bar in Reykjavik hosts an annual American-themed party, alongside many other bars and clubs in the capital.

J is for Japan – The people of Japan like to do things slightly different when it comes to a lot of things, and they are opposed to following the traditional celebrations of Halloween, such as trick-or-treating. As would be expected, however, cosplay is a big feature in Japan when October rolls around, and there are street festivals and parties to celebrate.

K is for Kenya – Less so in the suburbs, but in the large cities such as Nairobi, Kenyan people love a good Halloween party. The restaurants and large shopping malls put on large Halloween displays, while cinemas offer free showings of spooky movies.

L is for Lithuania – In Lithuania, the citizens believe the year is divided into two halves – the light half and the dark half. The date where these two halves meet is 31st October. Children play fight pretending one person is the light half and the other is the dark.

M is for the Maldives – If you visit the Maldives during Halloween season, you’ll find restaurants decorated with cobwebs and public festivals where you can participate in spooky games such as apple bobbing.

N is for the Netherlands – There’s something for everyone in the Netherlands on Halloween. Whether you want to take part in the scary Zombiewalk in Rotterdam or the Halloween Festival in Amsterdam, you’ll find celebrations up and down the country, including at the famous Keukenhof Castle.

O is for Oman – In this country, it’s easy to find a Halloween party, usually including live music, fun party games, decorations and spooky-themed food!

P is for Puerto Rico – Locals of San Juan look forward to the Yellow Halloween event, which takes place every year on October 31st. International artists came from all over the world, and the concert is sold out days in advance.

Q is for Quebec – This Canadian province certainly knows how to celebrate Halloween. It’s traditional to say ‘La charité s’il-vous-plaît’, which is Canadian French for ‘Happy Halloween’!

R is for Romania – The Romanian region of Transylvania is buzzing with Halloween parties and events during October. While other parts of the country don’t celebrate it as much, adults get involved in the parties and people of all ages enjoy street festivals.

S is for Spain – Spanish people enjoy eating chestnuts during the Halloween period, and making their own spooky food called Huesos de santo – Spanish for ‘saint bones’.

T is for Thailand – Halloween is only celebrated in the larger cities of Thailand, such as Bangkok, where the locals often throw parties and dress up as spooky characters. However, it’s difficult to find pumpkins and people in the villages avoid too much celebration for fear of angering the spirits.

U is for Uganda – The West has had a big influence on the countries of Africa over the years, so if you visit cities such as Kampala during October, you’ll see young children showing off their face painting skills and pumpkins galore for carving and decorating.

V is for Vietnam – During recent years, Vietnam has become a popular tourist attraction as well as a great host of Halloween celebrations. Parties take place all across the cities, and a popular feature is the presence of pop-up face painters, who are ready to help you get dressed up last minute!

W is for Wales – Seen to be the first day of winter, Nos Galan Gaeaf is more than just a day for Halloween celebrations – it’s the last day of autumn and the birth of the colder season. Paying homage to the famous Welsh dragon, the people of Wales love to carve pumpkins in the shape of dragons.

X is for Xalapa – …in Mexico! As we all know, the Mexicans love dressing up and they love their street festivals even more. You’ll be able to buy candles, jack-o-lanterns and many more Halloween supplies as you walk the streets and take part in the superb celebrations.

Y is for Yemen – The people of Yemen don’t pay much attention to the traditional date of Halloween on October 31st, but during Ramadan, the children in the large Muslim community of this country participate in trick-or-treating!

Z is for Zimbabwe – Children don’t go trick-or-treating here since there is plenty of unsafe wildlife out at night time, but that doesn’t stop them taking part in Halloween celebrations. It’s common to see people of all ages come together to throw a party and play games.


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About the Author

Lizzie Robinson
Lizzie Robinson has been a freelance writer since 2011. She studied English Literature at university and enjoys sailing & playing the piano in her free time. Lizzie enjoys writing about current issues & business.
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