Halloween is my favourite holiday. I love dressing up, there is no obligation to give out presents and there is free candy. Yes, please! Halloween, however, is so much more than just an excuse to party, there are deep-rooted cultural meanings to Halloween in various parts of the world. Some to honour, some superstitious, and yes, some wild parties. Halloween and Halloween-like celebrations don’t all take place on October 31st either, so this could turn into a Halloween country crawl if you wanted it to.
These are the creepiest and coolest ‘Halloween’ traditions around the world.
Nigeria – Egungun Festival
This festival is a masquerade event that honours and shows the remembrance of ancestors. The masqued are those who can communicate with the dead. These individuals are believed to be selected by the gods and given the power to do so. The Egungun festival takes place in June and there is plenty of food and dancing for all.
Egypt – Wag Festival
This festival is meant to help the departed pass into their next adventure, the afterlife, in a positive way. Egyptians believe their loved ones are led by Osiris as they make the journey. It’s celebrated in August with paper boats, food and wine. The paper boats and shrines are set free on the Nile to honour Osiris.
Nigeria – Odo Festival
For 6 months between September and April every two years the dead rise again and spend time with the living. The festival also teaches about the values of the Odo. There are many performances and meals throughout the festival.
Japan – Dress up and go take photos
Japan is generally a very conservative country (except for in Karaoke bars) but on Halloween people dress up and go WILD. Thousands of people take to the streets in their costumes to take photos with each other and celebrate. It’s an incredible experience and the costumes are out of this world!
Cambodia – 15 days of Halloween
Who needs the 12 days of Christmas hen you can have the 15 days of Halloween?? Well, it’s actually a festival commemorating the ancestors of the past 7 generations and is called Pchum Ben. It’s not celebrated at the end of October either, but falling in September.
Bangkok – Halloween Street Parties
Bangkok is known to be wild and Halloween is no exception. If you want an epic Halloween checkout the Khao San Road and Silom Soi 4 Street parties! Let your hair down and have fun!
Hong Kong – Halloween Capital of Asia
Disney Land, Ocean Park, Costume parties. Hong Kong celebrates Halloween like it’s going out of style. On the cultural side of things, on the 15th night of the 7th month of the Chinese lunar calendar, there is the Hungry Ghost Festival. The festival honours their relatives and feeds spirits who have come to roam the earth.
Sydney – Zombie Walk
Thousands of people dress up like zombies and take to the streets of Sydney to raise money for charity. There are makeup stalls to ensure you look your absolute worst and food trucks that offer zombie-themed treats along the way.
Gold Coast – Island of Sin Party Boat
The Gold Coast is wild, and so are it’s parties. The island of Sin is a party boat that docks at an island, there are lots of DJs to keep you entertained throughout the day. The boat departs at 11 am, so be ready to party ALL DAY LONG!
If you are stay in Surfers Paradise stay at Backpackers in Paradise.
Transylvania – Home of Dracula
How spooky does spending Halloween in the home of vampires sound? Romania has a wicked history and plenty of folklore to send shivers up your spine. Over the Halloween season, they embrace it by hosting castle parties and vampire-themed restaurants. Can you handle the sinister side of Transylvania after dark?
Ireland – Birthplace of Halloween
Samhain is yet another spiritual holiday that celebrated spirits returning to earth and is known as the origin of Halloween. The celebrations, which take place on November 1st, were meant to scare away the ghosts. Today the celebrations are still going strong and should be added to your Halloween bucket list!
Corinaldo Itlay – The witches festival
If you have never heard of Corinaldo it is this stunning town known to be one of the most beautiful villages in Italy. Over Halloween, this historic village turns dark and hosts a witches festival. There are 3 days of festivities and Miss Witch is crowned.
You can stay in this beautiful village at Palazzo Boscareto.
Amsterdam – 3-day festival
Well, the festivities last more than 3 days, to be honest. There are lots of interesting workshops and some spooktacular parties throughout the week leading up to Halloween. Get your costume ready because Amsterdam is ready to play.
London – serial killers on the rise
There are so many Halloween parties and events to attend, including a Jack-the-ripper tour of London’s East-End. Other spooky activities featured around the city are interactive mazes, haunted escape rooms and a tour of the Tower of London.
Las Vegas – CELEBRATION is what they do
Vegas is wild, there is always something going on and any excuse to party is welcomed with open arms. The costumes are outrageous and the parties are obscene. That is what makes it Las Vegas. There really is no limit to what Las Vegas has for Halloween including family-friendly events.
This is your chance to splurge at The Venetian.
Niagara Falls – Haunt Manor – Scariest Halloween event Canada
Said to be Canada’s scariest event Haunt Manor boasts 7 different haunted houses along with hayrides, a corn maze and a midway. There are over 100 actors ready to scare you to death and on Halloween night there are absolutely no lights. That’s right, roam the grounds in darkness surrounded by horrifying creatures.
Want to wake up overlooking Niagara Falls? Hilton Niagara Falls is for you.
West Hollywood Carnaval – one of the biggest celebrations in the world
In true Hollywood fashion, this street party is wild and has some incredible costumes. There are DJs and live music to get the party going. The event ends at 10:30 so there is plenty of time for you to shuffle into the club and continue getting your freak on.
Mexico – Day of the dead
Now we can’t talk about Halloween without talking about the day of the dead. Celebrated from October 31st to November 2nd, celebrations are meant to honour loved ones. The holiday is celebrated in different ways across Mexico with some areas being more vibrant and excentric and others being more reserved.
Salem – Witch Town
Home of the Salem Witches, it seems fitting to head to Massachusetts for Halloween. There is plenty of witchy things to do like visiting the witch museum, ghost tours and even have the experience of being on the jury against Bridget Bishop when she was accused of witchcraft.
If you are looking for somewhere to stay check out Hawthorne Hotel.
Sao Paulo – Ghost Train
Party in an abandoned train station to some electronic music. There is a lot of work that goes into making this event stand out and you don’t want to miss it!
You may have noticed I left out Antarctica. It’s not because I don’t appreciate it, it’s simply because it is very underpopulated and Halloween celebrations aren’t really popular. In 2016 there was an ice crack labelled the “Halloween crack” which has been deemed an “immediate concern” by Nasa.