Halloween celebrations from around the world

Sian Pages – Travel Planner

It’s the Halloween season, and families worldwide are getting ready to celebrate!

While the UK version of the event often involves costumes, decorating your homes, trick-or-treating and pick your own pumpkins, there are various unique ways people across the globe embrace the spooky spirit.

Let’s take a quick trip around the world to discover how different cultures celebrate Halloween.


Halloween in Japan

Across the globe, Halloween primarily caters to children, but in Japan, it takes on a decidedly more grown-up flair.

Here, Halloween celebrations eschew the traditional trick-or-treating in favour of vibrant cosplay and lively parties.

The pinnacle of Halloween festivities in Japan is the prestigious Kawasaki Halloween Parade, where approximately 4,000 participants don elaborate costumes. However, it’s not a casual affair; strict standards apply, and those eager to take part must submit their applications at least two months in advance to join in the revelry.


Halloween in Italy

In Italy, the blending of modern imported “Halloween” festivities with the cherished traditional “Ognissanti” celebrations creates a captivating tapestry of traditions.

“Ognissanti,” meaning “All Saint’s Day,” graces the calendar on November 1-2, but the enchantment often begins a day or two earlier. During this sacred time, it’s believed that the spirits of departed loved ones return to reunite with the living.

Cemeteries transform into vibrant sanctuaries adorned with resplendent fall chrysanthemums, and offerings of delectable food are thoughtfully left out to welcome these visiting souls.

In some charming corners of Italy, parents lovingly set out gifts for their children, a heartfelt gesture reminiscent of a miniature Christmas celebration.

The convergence of these timeless customs with the contemporary spirit of Halloween creates an aspirational fusion of culture and reverence that’s truly enchanting.


Halloween in Mexico

In Mexico, Halloween pales in comparison to the vibrant and captivating celebration of El Día de Los Muertos, the Day of the Dead.

This enchanting two-day celebration beautifully weaves together traditional indigenous customs and European traditions, offering a truly unique and immersive experience for travellers.

Legend has it that on 1st and 2nd November, the spirits of our departed loved ones return to join us in celebration. As a traveller, you’ll find yourself immersed in a world of colourful flowers, lively festivals, delectable sweets, and captivating imagery featuring intricately adorned skulls and skeletons.

The atmosphere is one of pure festivity, as families come together for picnics and illuminate cemeteries with the warm glow of candles.

Surprisingly, despite the prevalence of death-related symbols, this is not a morbid or somber occasion; it’s a vibrant celebration of life, a joyful testament to the enduring connection between the past and the present.

El Día de Los Muertos is an experience that will leave you deeply moved and inspired by the rich tapestry of Mexican culture.

Ottawa, Canada

Do you love carved pumpkins?

There’s one city that stands out. Pumpkinferno in Canada’s capital is a fantastic festival where thousands of glowing, orange pumpkins line a historic, one-kilometre-long walkway, lit by candlelight.

But these pumpkins aren’t just carved with spooky faces. You’ll discover a wide range of imaginative installations, from sea creatures and sports figures to dragons and vehicles, and much more.

This outdoor exhibit at Upper Canada Village is open all through October and is definitely worth a visit for pumpkin enthusiasts.

Derry, Londonderry – Northern Ireland

Halloween in Northern Ireland

Many believe that Halloween is an American holiday, but its roots trace back to Ireland.

It was influenced by the Celtic festival of Samhain, a religious event with spiritual traditions that marked the transition from the harvest season to winter.

In Northern Ireland, Derry Halloween stands as Europe’s largest Halloween festival, drawing hundreds of thousands of revellers annually.

Over four days, the Walled City transforms into a spooky wonderland, where spirits and spectres come to life. Visitors can enjoy all the festival essentials: fireworks, feasting, folklore, and an abundance of eerie costumes. The highlight is the Carnival Parade, featuring local performers marching through the city and along the River Foyle, presenting a captivating show of live music, dance, fire, and dazzling lights.

Salem, Massachusetts – USA

Halloween Salem USA

Another top destination for the world’s most renowned Halloween celebration is Salem, a coastal city just a 40-minute drive from Boston.

Salem, steeped in history and renowned for its 17th-century witch trials, anticipates a crowd of half a million visitors during its month-long festivities.

Travellers will find an abundance of activities to enjoy. Explore the city’s rich history at a museum, muster the courage to visit a witch’s house, embark on a spooky tour of Salem aboard a red trolley, and uncover a host of other thrilling experiences waiting to be discovered.

Get in touch

If you’d like to discuss future travel plans you have in mind, get in contact with our in-house travel consultant, Sian Pages, on sian.pages@notjusttravel.com.

Sian will be more than happy to spend time talking you through your options; remembering her service is delivered at no cost to clients and professional connections of Longhurst.

Happy Adventures!