Halloween Around the World


Many Americans dressed up in their costumes last night to go trick-or-treating, watch scary movies or go to a party to celebrate Halloween. Halloween is one of the world’s oldest holidays, and while it might be hard to imagine celebrating it in any other way than dressing up in your favorite costume and asking for candy, different countries and cultures celebrate the beloved holiday in their own unique ways.



Halloween actually originated in Ireland from Celtic and Pagan rituals, as well as a festival called Samhain that celebrated “the end of the light half of the year.” Today, Ireland celebrates Halloween much like America. Children dress up and go trick-or-treating in their neighborhood, and parties are held with bonfires, games, and food. 



In China, Halloween is celebrated in the form of two different festivals: Teng Chieh and The Feast of the Hungry Ghosts. During Teng Chieh, people place food and water in front of pictures of their relatives that have passed. They light lanterns and bonfires in an effort to guide the spirits back to earth. The Feast of the Hungry Ghosts is similar to Teng Chieh, but this festival is dedicated to the spirits that remain on earth. The spirits that may have never received love and affection from their family or friends when they died are supposed to feel welcomed and loved during this festival.


Mexico/Latin America/Spain

Although Spanish countries don’t necessarily celebrate Halloween, they do celebrate their own version of it called Dia de los Muertos, which translates to Day of the Dead. It is also a holiday to honor those who have died. The people of these countries believe that the souls of their deceased loved ones return to earth at midnight on Oct. 31. They celebrate with skulls, music, dances, and lots of food.



In Italy, Halloween takes the form of “All Saints Day”: a national holiday in Italy where they celebrate the saints of their faith. They also remember those who are named after saints. They celebrate by visiting with family (sometimes exchanging gifts) and sharing meals. All Saints Day is celebrated on Nov. 1st and is followed by All Souls’ Day on Nov. 2nd. All Souls’ Day is a day to remember their loved ones who have passed away. They visit gravesites and leave flowers and gifts. 



In the Transylvannia area, thousands of tourists flock to the site of where Count Dracula supposedly lives on Oct. 31. While Halloween is not an official holiday of Romania, it is widely celebrated and adored. Later in the year, on St. Andrews’ night, garlic is brought out to protect locals from ghosts–a superstition from the 15th-century that is still practiced today.