10 Reasons to Celebrate Halloween Abroad

Halloween has a rich and nuanced past that extends back through Christian history and into pre-Christian Celtic history. For instance, the association of Halloween with cider, apples, pumpkins, and other vegetables arises from the fact that many religions urged their members to abstain from eating meat on All Hallow’s Eve. The deep roots of Halloween mean that much of the Western world partakes in the holiday. Celebrating Halloween abroad can be a rewarding, educational, and exciting way to experience the year’s most frightening holiday. Here are a few reasons to consider leaving home this Halloween.

1 It Might Be More Peaceful

Some people want a wild and raucous Halloween and others want a somber, reflective holiday. In places like England, Ireland, and Scotland, Halloween celebrations date back to the Celtic period when the day was used to both celebrate the harvest and remember dead ancestors. Halloween in these places is a day of quiet celebration.

2 It Might Be Wilder

If you are looking for a wild Halloween, then you might consider going to North Korea or Brazil. In Seoul, on Halloween, the district of Itaewon closes its streets to automobile traffic and sets up a festival complete with live music, costume contests, and more. The party lasts long into the night (the next morning really) and features expats, Koreans, and travelers dancing the night away in costume.

3 A Reverent Holiday

El Dia de los Muertos, or The Day of the Dead, is one of the largest holidays celebrated in Mexico. It started 3,000 years ago, as a way to mock death and celebrate life and has been influenced greatly by Spanish settlers. Families hold lavish feasts in which they honor ancestors by constructing altars and decorating their homes. It is both a joyous and a somber holiday, one for which there is much celebrating, but also much reflection about the meanings of life and death. The celebration lasts for three days and features parades, parties, and the return of the monarch butterfly to Mexico.

4 See the Real Spirit of Halloween

What makes Halloween interesting is that the tradition was nearly stamped out by the Catholic Church at one point. Though Halloween originated in parts of Europe (and similar holidays originated in places like China and South America), many of the older traditions have been lost. It took the irreverent inhabitants of the “New World” to rekindle the holiday. Now, places like Italy and France actually celebrate “American-style” Halloween better than Americans do.

Read also – 9 Fun Halloween Activities for the Whole Family

5 Exposure Yourself to Unique Traditions

In Germany, everyone puts their knives away to prevent injury to returning spirits and to prevent the spirits from harming others. In the Czech Republic, Halloween is marked by visits to the graves of departed loved ones and by placing chairs around the fireplace (enough for the living and the dead) to welcome departed ancestors home. Traditions are unique the world over, you might just find one you like better than your current tradition.

6 It Lasts Longer

In countries that have strong Spanish influences, Halloween is a three-day event. It starts on October 31 and lasts through November 2. It is understood in these countries that mourning and sadness are an insult to the dead, so the three-day celebration is marked by food, drink, parties, and festivities of all types.

7 Good Food

Countries the world over seem to celebrate Halloween with a variety of dishes that don’t really appear at other times of year. Examples include candy apples in the United States, Fave dei Morti in Italy (a type of cookie), “soul cakes” in England, and Queimada (orujo, sugar, lemon, and coffee) in Spain. No matter where you go, you’ll be certain to find unique and enchanting foods around Halloween.

8 More History

Ghosts across the world haunt all variety of structures from ancient castles and hotels to subways and cemeteries. You could visit Bran Castle, in Romania, which was probably the inspiration for the castle in Bram Stoker’s Dracula. You could also visit The Catacombs in Paris, the Vaults and Mary King’s Close in Scotland, or Xunantunich in Belize. Mystery and the supernatural abound in both ancient and modern settings, so don’t be afraid (maybe just a little) to explore.

9 Foreign Candy

Candy is a Halloween tradition in many other places, but the type of candy that is handed out can differ dramatically from on location to another. In Japan, you might find chocolate-covered squid. In India, you might try candied tamarind. In South America, you can eat chili lime mango pops. Halloween abroad can be a gustatory marvel when you learn just how many different things chocolate can be added to.

10 Cultural Ghost Stories

You might be getting a bit bored with the ghost stories you are used to. After all, you know the ending. Every culture has ghost stories, however, and some of them are quite unique. Halloween can be a great time to let your foreign companions scare you half to death with their own unique tales of horror and suspense.

Whatever your reason for celebrating Halloween abroad, know that many countries observe the holiday with festivities of one type or another. Some will be very similar to your own traditions and some will be very different. No matter what, you will enjoy learning how other cultures around world deal with death and the fear it invokes. That’s what Halloween is all about anyway – laughing in the face of death. Where are you going to celebrate Halloween this year?