In America there is no mention of Halloween until the early 19th century, following mass trans Atlantic emigration by over 2 million Irish escaping the Great Famine from 1845-1849. With them, the Irish brought their age-old customs such as Halloween as a celebration of their Irish roots. This is Top 10 places to celebrate Halloween Around The World in 2015 that will interested you most of it.
Halloween (Día de las Brujas) is hailed mainly as a children’s festivity in Mexico on October 31. It is often overshadowed by the Day of the Dead (Día de los Muertos) celebrations on All Saints’ Day and All Soul’s Day.Halloween coincides with Day of the Dead preparations in Mexico City, late October. Halloween is celebrated among Mexican children who wear costumes when they go trick-or-treating to people’s homes, asking for candy. When they trick-or-treat at each door, they shout, “we want Halloween” (queremos Halloween). Toys and candy that are made to resemble skeletons, coffins, and the personification of death (La Muerta) are found in many stores at this time of the year. Candles, paper wreaths and seasonal flowers are also sold for the Day of the Dead celebrations, which start as early as the evening of Halloween. Halloween is an observance and not a federal public holiday in Mexico.
The small island of Janitzio holds elaborate Day of the Dead rituals. There are processions and music, folk dances are performed and families gather in the cemetery to spend the night chanting and singing. Perhaps the most impressive sight is the fishermen in their rowboats with torches lighting up the lake. Visitors to Oaxaca during Day of the Dead can visit colorful marketplaces in nearby villages, witness vigils in a variety of cemeteries and take part in night-time carnival-like processions called comparsas. There are also sand tapestry competitions and Day of the Dead altars set up throughout town.
In Mixquic, street stalls are set up in the days before the celebrations. A procession through town with a cardboard coffin leads the way to the cemetery where a candle-light vigil will take place. In the Maya language Day of the Dead celebrations are referred to as Hanal Pixan, which means “feast for the souls”. In Merida, Yucatan, families gather to prepare a special seasoned chicken tamale wrapped in banana leaves, which is cooked underground in a pit. The dish is enjoyed by both the spirits, who are believed to consume its essence, and the living, who enjoy the real thing.
There are also festivities in the streets and cemeteries. Aguascalientes celebrates Day of the Dead every year with the Festival de las Calaveras (Festival of Skulls). Xcaret theme park in the Riviera Maya hosts an annual Festival de la Vida y la Muerte, “Festival of Life and Death”, in honor of the Day of the Dead. In the colonial town of Chiapa de Corzo, the cemetery is decorated in a lively manner with colorful ribbons, flowers and candles. There is live music in the cemetery as families serenade the deceased on their short-lived return.
Halloween originated in Ireland and is known as ‘Samhain Night’. The medieval Irish festival of Samhain marked the end of the harvest, bringing shorter days and the “darker half” of the year. It is linked to the dead revisiting the mortal world, large communal bonfires and associated lore. The largest organised Halloween celebration in Ireland is the Banks of the Foyle Halloween Carnival in Derry City, from 25 to 29 November.
Derry City dedicates nine days to a carnival of all things spooky. There is a parade, fireworks, fire dancing, and a whole programme of family events. In between the haunted houses, ghost tours and horror-story telling, they squeeze in workshops, catwalks, scary movies and a Dragon Safari. Halloween today is a good excuse for family fun where children (of all ages) dress up to play trick or treat, pumpkins are turned into Jack O’Lanterns and people tell spooky stories to give each other a fright. But Halloween has come a long way from its origins in Ireland as the pagan festival of Samhain. In the ancient Celtic world of Ireland, Samhain was the end of summer and the beginning of winter, a time of long and cold nights and for many a portent of death.
As these two periods crossed over at Samhain, the dead supposedly returned to the mortal world and so large communal fires were lit to ward of evil spirits. These festivals of fire were well documented at the royal court of Tara and would include a Feile na Marbh, a festival of the dead. In parts of Ireland it was believed that a puca, or mischievous sprite would cast spells on unsuspecting folk. Originally Samhain would occur around moon cycles at the start of November and was observed in Ireland well into the 6th century, despite the introduction of Christianity. When Christianity set November 1st as All Saints’ Day or All Hallows’ Day in the 8th century, the Irish Celts were reluctant to give up their festival and so celebrated Samhain as All Hallows’ Eve, which later became corrupted to Hallowe’en and Halloween.
In America there is no mention of Halloween until the early 19th century, following mass trans Atlantic emigration by over 2 million Irish escaping the Great Famine from 1845-1849. With them, the Irish brought their age-old customs such as Halloween as a celebration of their Irish roots.
Salem Massachusetts. Salem’s storied past of witch trials and executions has been positively spun into the modern celebrations held there every Halloween. The Salem Chamber of Commerce goes all out for the holiday with activities spread out over the month of October. Every year the town sponsors a grand parade, the great pumpkin carving contest and live re-enactments of the trials at historic sites in the community. On Halloween night there are costume balls and a haunted cruise on the Salem sound.
New Orleans. The mysterious allure of the Big Easy is at its spooky best on Halloween. Take a haunted mansion tour to learn about the ghosts of New Orleans’ past who still haunt the city. Visit voodoo witch doctors for a special Halloween blessing or have them put a curse on your enemies. Head to the zoo with your kids for trick-or-treating with the animals at the “Boo at the Zoo Night.” Attend a masquerade party or head to Bourbon Street where the party never stops.
San Francisco. Visit the foggy Bay Area of San Francisco for a Halloween trip full of ghostly fun. Head to the zoo for its special Dia de los Muertos celebration. Try the haunted pirate ship tours on the bay or cut loose at a wild night club theme party. Festivals and pumpkin carving events are held at the pier and in several parks around town. Mob across town in one of many costume crawls that take place on Halloween night.
Transylvania, Romania. The birthplace of the legend of Dracula is still celebrating Halloween to this day. Visit the sites of many spooky tales and the homes of famous people that are kept like museums. See the statue of Vlad the Impaler or tour Dracula’s castle, complete with an English-speaking guide to give you all the bloody details. Attend one of the many dinner events thrown throughout the town on Halloween night to show off your best Dracula costume.
Madison, Wisconsin. Home of the University of Wisconsin–Madison, hosts one of the more infamous annual Halloween celebrations.The party has been officially named “Freakfest” and has a wild reputation.
Anoka, Minnesota. The self-proclaimed “Halloween Capital of the World“, celebrates the holiday with a large civic parade and several other city-wide events.
Keene, New Hampshire. Hosts the annual Pumpkin Fest each October which previously held the record for having the greatest number of lit jack-o’-lanterns at once. The official Guinness World Record Attempt count at 2014’s Keene Pumpkin Festival was 21,912. If you’re a creature of the night, then it makes sense to go to the “city that never sleeps” for Halloween. There are tons of Halloween events in New York City for every age, interest, and persuasion. A few favorites are the Procession of the Ghouls, visits to haunted New York City hotels, bars, and buildings, and Halloween events at NYC museums and zoos for the whole family.
New York City. New York City hosts the United States’ largest Halloween celebration, known as The Village Halloween Parade. Started by Greenwich Village mask maker Ralph Lee in 1973, the evening parade now attracts over two million spectators and participants, as well as roughly four million television viewers annually. Chicago Halloween events include Chicagoween, the Spooky Zoo Spectacular, and the Haunted Sanitarium.
Los Angeles, the USA’s entertainment capital is crawling with Halloween events and festivities. Of particular note are the Adults Only Halloween Party and the Day of the Dead Celebration, which draws on LA’s long-standing Mexican heritage.
Ghoulish gals and ghastly guys, the witching hour is most definitely upon us. To mark our excitement for this blood curdling romp, we’ve put together our pick of the best Halloween parties in London, combining all of the city listings to provide you with one spooktacular range of Halloween events. You could end up at the best fancy dress party in Shoreditch, or you could end up in one of the capital’s most banging of nightclubs, but one thing’s for sure, it’s going OFF this Halloween in London.
London Ghost Walk. Visit graveyards and famous murder sites on an after-dark ghost walk with author of Haunted London, Richard Jones. The capital’s sinister history comes alive at the site of Sir William Wallace (the real-life Braveheart) execution in the 14th-century, and an old churchyard said to be haunted by the ghostly figure of Queen Isabella, known as the She-Wolf of France.
Jack the Ripper Walk. Meet outside Tower Hill Tube station to join crime historian Donald Rumbelow on a guided walk around Jack the Ripper’s old haunts in East London. Afterwards, drop into the Commercial Street’s Ten Bells pub, where, allegedly, two of his victim’s drank.
The London Dungeons. The London Dungeons is a great Halloween visit, with their dedicated programme and ‘Master of Tricks’ entertainer all geared up to deliver frights and mischief.
The London Eye. The London Eye, has dress up events for kids over the Halloween period, with special story telling experiences also available.
Horse-Drawn Halloween Rides in Richmond Park. Explore Richmond Park in the dark for a thorough spooking this Halloween. Meet your horse-drawn carriage at Sheen Gate and embark on an hour-long tour, during which your guide will tell you all about the history of the park, the ghosts that haunt the grounds and a Victorian murder that was only solved in 2010.
- The rest of England
The three days between 31st October and 2nd November see pagan and Christian celebrations intertwined in a fascinating way and is a perfect example of superstition struggling with religious belief. Currently, it is widely thought that Halloween originated as a pagan Celtic festival of the dead related to the Irish and Scottish Samhain, but there is no evidence that it was connected with the dead in pre-Christian times.
Halloween celebrations in the United Kingdom include parties where guests are often expected to arrive in a costume to reflect the day’s theme. Other people gather together to watch horror films, either at home or at a cinema. Some children go trick-or-treating. This means that they dress up and go to other peoples’ houses, knocking on the door for treat of sweets or a snack. Those who do not give out a treat may be tricked with a joke instead. Halloween has its origins in pagan festivals in England, Scotland, Wales and Ireland. Many stores and businesses see Halloween as a chance to promote products with a Halloween theme. On the following page we will outline some of the facts, so you can decide for yourself, and join the debate, of the origins of Halloween.
Halloween is not a bank holiday in the United Kingdom. Schools, businesses, stores and other organizations are open as usual. Public transport services run on their normal timetables. Halloween has its origins in pagan festivals held around the end of October in England, Wales, Scotland and Ireland. People believed that, at this time of year, the spirits of dead people could come ‘alive’ and walk among the living. They thought that it was important to dress up in costumes when venturing outside, to avoid being harmed by the spirits. This may be the origin of the Halloween costumes seen today. In Puritan times, Halloween celebrations were outlawed, but they were revived in later times.
Halloween used to be called All Hallows Eve, or the day before All Saints’ Day, observed on November 1. Halloween is also known as Nut-crack Night, Thump-the-door Night or Apple and Candle Night. Some people call Halloween Bob Apple Night or Duck Apple Night. This comes from a traditional game played at this time of year and known as ‘apple bobbing’ or ‘apple ducking’. A bucket or other container is filled with water and one or more apples are floated on the water.
The contestants take turns trying to catch an apple with their teeth. They must hold their hands behind their backs at all times. Some people believe that apple bobbing is a reminder of the way women accused of witchcraft in the middle ages were tried. They were tied to a chair and repeatedly ducked into a river or pond. If a woman drowned, she was declared innocent. If she survived, she was declared a witch and burnt at the stake. Others think that apple bobbing is a way for young people to predict who they will marry or whether their partner is faithful.
Some aspects of the modern Halloween celebrations, such as carving lanterns out of vegetables originated long ago. Others were introduced more recently, often as a form of commercial promotion. Many customs originated in the United States and have travelled back to the United Kingdom. There are various symbols are associated with Halloween. The colors orange and black are very common. Other symbols include pumpkin lanterns, witches, wizards, ghosts, spirits and characters from horror films. Animals associated with the festival include bats, spiders and black cats.