The Best Halloween Celebrations Around the World3 min read
Not everyone automatically associates Halloween and international travel. While it traditionally may not be the most popular time of year to travel abroad, it can certainly be one of the most fun. Have no fear: leaving the country during the last week of October doesn’t mean you’ll miss out on any festivities you would normally take part in back home. In fact, these Halloween celebrations from around the world are sure to live up to (and maybe even exceed) your holiday expectations.
America’s next-door neighbors are famous for their version of Halloween, a three-day celebration known as “El Día de los Muertos.” This “Day of the Dead” is when Mexican families and descendants honor their deceased loved ones and celebrate the beauty of life. The most common ways of celebrating include decorating altars, graveside vigils, and telling ghost stories and folktales. But perhaps the most famous part of El Día de los Muertos are the sugar skulls, colorfully decorated clay skulls worn to represent departed souls.
If you go… Don’t be scared to join in the celebrations! Just always be respectful, because in Mexican culture this holiday is seen as a commemoration of the dead and a time for reflection.
Italians have always celebrated All Saints Day and All Souls Day, but Halloween recently has taken center stage. Many cities go all out with decorations, costume parties, festivals, parades, spooky attractions, live music, and – of course – a ton of great, traditional Italian food.
If you go… Spend the holiday in one of Italy’s major Halloween cities: Borgo a Mozzano, home of the very first Halloween festival; Triora, the City of Witches; and Corinaldo, the self- proclaimed Italian Capital of Halloween.
Though Halloween is a fairly new phenomenon in Asian countries, this Chinese city has fully embraced the Western tradition. Throughout the entire month of October, both Hong Kong Disneyland and Ocean Park transform in to haunted playgrounds filled with costumed characters and creepy attractions. As for the night of Halloween? Prepare for some trick-or-treating down Avenue of the Stars in Tsim Sha Tsui, followed by late-night festivities in Lan Kwai Fong.
If you go… Halloween celebrations in Hong Kong can get pretty spooky – keep that in mind if planning a trip with little ones.
What better place to celebrate Halloween than where it all began? Contrary to popular belief, Halloween did not originate in the United States. The Irish-born holiday started over 3,000 years ago as the pagan festival of Samhain, when it was said that the dead returned to the mortal world. Today, the Irish spend their Halloween dressing up, trick-or-treating and eating traditional Irish Halloween foods like Colcannon, Potato Farls and Barmbrack.
If you go… Be sure to stop by Meath, the actual birthplace of Halloween. This Irish county hosts a family-friendly festival every year, with events like “Spookling Afternoon Tea” and a murder mystery dinner.
Photo information: Sugar Skulls – Mexico, image courtesy of CNN; Borgo a Mozzano – Italy, image courtesy of Italian Vogue; Ocean Park – Hong Kong, image courtesy of China Central Television; Halloween in Meath – Ireland, image courtesy of the Irish Times