Halloween provides a wonderful opportunity to experience the adventure of a new culture and indulge in local delicacies. Not every country spends October 31st trick-or-treating and bobbing for apples. If you plan on venturing somewhere this Halloween, almost every country has their own way to have fun on this spooky day. Whether you head to Europe or elsewhere in the world, there is more to the day than just candy.
The Celtic Origins of Halloween
If you want to visit where Halloween is believed to have originated more than 2,000 years ago, Ireland is the place to go. It all started with the Celtic New Year’s Eve, Samhain, celebrated on October 31st. Their version of a sweet treat is the Barmbrack, a popular cake given to children and adults alike, with a treat baked inside that is telling of the future. Bonfires and games are common, and children do more tricking than treating, playing the light-hearted “knock-a-dolly” game. They knock on their neighbors’ doors and then run away before the door can be opened.
Traditional Irish Barmbrack sweet fruit bread Head to Mexico for Dia De Los Muertos
Dia De Los Muertos is a deeply-held tradition in Mexico. On October 31st the Gates of Heaven open at midnight so that the souls of the deceased can return to their families until November 2nd. In-home altars are created as offerings to the ghosts, leaving candy and toys for children and cigarettes and alcohol for adults. Last year there was an estimated 300,000 in attendance at the celebrations in Mexico City alone. While deeply spiritual, the holiday is also a cause for celebration and festivity, with sugar skulls among the many treats offered.
In Romania, Count Dracula Draws a Crowd
Count Dracula’s castle is a huge tourist attraction, even though there are arguments about the validity of this castle’s history in Transylvania, Romania. An estimated half-million foreign tourists visit the castle each year. It’s a favorite Halloween party spot for people around the world, with a variety of delights available at nearby food trucks.
Plan Ahead to Attend the Kawasaki Halloween Parade in Japan
The Kawasaki Halloween Parade popular event in Japan is on many bucket lists, but there are many restrictions for those who want to participate. Applications must be submitted two months in advance. The Kawasaki Halloween parade has taken place every year for the last two decades, with attendance reaching 4,000. This year, the Pride Parade will join the Kawasaki Halloween Parade and they expect 25,000 participants.
Halloween in the U.S.: The Best-Dressed Pets
In the US, 179 million Americans will spend $9 billion to celebrate, spending $3.2 billion on costumes and more than $2 billion on candy. With 70% of people expected to hand out candy to trick-or-treaters, there won’t be any limit to the festivities in the US. Millennials will spend 2.5 times more than Gen Xers and 8 times more than Boomers, as well as spending the most on their pets’ costumes. More than a third of us started Halloween shopping in September.