Are you wondering “Does Europe celebrate Halloween?” Let’s find out!
Halloween is often thought of as an American holiday but did you know that it actually originated in Europe? In fact, many European countries celebrate Halloween.
I love Halloween and celebrate it every year. I’ve visited some really great Halloween destinations around Europe and experienced everything from spooky castles to eerie festivals, ghost tours, and creepy Halloween traditions.
In this article, I’ll share with you my experiences and insights on how different countries in Europe celebrate Halloween, as well as the best places in Europe to visit for some spooky fun!
Read on for the best places to spend spooky season in Europe!
Hi, I’m JJ!
I’m a travel blogger with a passion for unique travel destinations, discovering hidden gems, and adventurous solo travel.
My favourite place on this list of spooky destinations is Romania, it’s an underrated country with gorgeous scenery and many fascinating castles to visit!
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Does Europe Celebrate Halloween?
Do Europeans celebrate Halloween? Yes, Halloween is indeed celebrated in Europe!
Many countries have their own unique ways of observing this holiday but the general concept remains the same – dressing up in costumes, carving pumpkins into jack-o’-lanterns, and indulging in sweet treats with your loved ones.
This tradition can be traced back to ancient Celtic festivals and has evolved over time to become the fun-filled holiday we all know and love.
Where Did Halloween Originate? – Halloween In Europe History
The origins of Halloween can be traced back to the ancient Celtic festival of Samhain, which was celebrated in Ireland, Scotland, and the Isle of Man.
The Celts believed that during this time, the boundary between the living and the dead were blurred, allowing spirits to roam freely on earth.
To appease the spirits people would leave offerings of food and dress in costume to disguise themselves from the spirits whilst going door-to-door reciting verses in exchange for food. Some literature also associates Samhain with bonfires and sacrifices.
Over time, as Christianity spread throughout Europe, the original Celtic Samhain festival evolved into All Saints’ Day or All Hallows’ Day on November 1st. The evening before (October 31st) became known as All Hallows’ Eve and eventually shortened to Halloween.
Which Countries Celebrate Halloween In Europe
Halloween is widely celebrated in many countries in Europe, including Ireland, the United Kingdom, France, Spain, Italy, Germany, and Austria.
It has also gained popularity in countries such as Sweden, Denmark, and Norway.
In these countries, you’ll find Halloween decorations in shops and people dressing up for costume parties or trick-or-treating.
European Halloween Traditions
As mentioned before, each country in Europe has its own unique way of celebrating Halloween. Here are some interesting traditions that you might encounter during your travels:
Ireland: Being the birthplace of Halloween, Ireland has held onto many old traditions. For example, people still carve turnips into lanterns instead of pumpkins and go door-to-door to collect “treats” (usually fruits) on Halloween night.
United Kingdom: If you’ve ever wondered “Does the UK celebrate Halloween?” the answer is yes! Halloween is a hugely popular holiday in the UK, with many people decorating their homes with spooky decorations, dressing up in costumes, and throwing themed parties.
Spain: In Spain, they celebrate All Saints’ Day on November 1st with a festival called “Dia de todos los Santos”. Families visit cemeteries to pay respects to their loved ones and bring offerings, such as flowers and traditional pastries.
Italy: Similar to Spain, Italy also celebrates All Saints’ Day on November 2nd. However, they have a unique tradition of making bean-shaped sweets called “fave dei morti” or “beans of the dead”.
10 Best Halloween Destinations In Europe
1. Transylvania, Romania
For the ultimate spooky experience, head to Transylvania in Romania.
Famous for its association with vampires, this region has plenty of haunted castles and creepy sights to explore. It’s definitely one of the best places to go for Halloween.
You can even visit Dracula’s Castle! Bran Castle is said to have inspired Bram Stoker’s novel. The actual history of the castle is just as spooky as the story of Dracula, as it is thought to have belonged to Vlad the Impaler! They even host a huge party in the castle every Halloween.
I had a great time exploring Bran castle when I visited Romania and the surrounding countryside is beautiful too. Be sure to spend some time in the nearby town of Brasov whilst you are there and check out its impressive gothic church.
I haven’t attended the Halloween party at Dracula’s castle yet but it’s definitely on my bucket list!
👻The ‘Two Castles Tour’ is one of the most popular tours from Bucharest and will take you to both Peles Castle and Bran Castle as well as a guided walking tour in Brasov. It’s the easiest and most convenient way to explore Transylvania in a day!
2. Derry, Northern Ireland
Did you know that Ireland is considered the birthplace of Halloween?
The holiday, known as Samhain, was originally celebrated by the Celts. Today, the Irish still celebrate with festive traditions such as carving turnips and attending ghost tours, and Ireland is known as one of the best countries for Halloween festivities.
Derry claims to be the “Halloween Capital of the World”, this city in Northern Ireland goes all out for Halloween. The streets are filled with eerie installations, and there’s a huge parade on Halloween night featuring floats, costumes, fireworks, and street performers.
In fact, it’s the biggest Halloween festival in Europe!
👻 To enhance your spooky experience in Derry why not stay in a haunted hotel? The White Horse Hotel is a modern hotel but there have been multiple sightings of a ghostly stagecoach pulling up outside the hotel, with the driver disappearing before he reaches the door!
3. Edinburgh, Scotland
Edinburgh is known for its dark history and ghostly sightings, making it the perfect destination for Halloween.
The city hosts various events during the spooky season, including ghost tours, film screenings, and storytelling sessions in some of its most haunted locations.
They also have a huge Samhuinn fire festival – a modern re-imagining of the ancient Celtic festival.
👻 I recommend this late-night underground ghost tour that takes you down underneath Edinburgh’s Royal Mile to visit the famous Edinburgh Vaults – it’s both interesting and entertaining!
4. London, UK
If you’ve ever wondered “Is Halloween celebrated in England?” the answer is yes!
One of my personal favorite cities to spend Halloween in Europe is London. It’s one of the best places to visit for Halloween.
The city transforms into a spooky wonderland during this time of year, with countless haunted houses, horror movie screenings, and themed events. You can’t miss out on the famous “London Dungeon” for a truly scary experience.
Pumpkin patches are also becoming more popular in the UK lately. There are several pumpkin patches within driving distance of London.
👻 The London Dungeons are really fun and not too scary (in my opinion) – I recommend booking tickets in advance and upgrading your experience to include a cocktail in the spooky tavern.
5. Venice, Italy
Halloween celebrations in Italy are generally more subdued than in other parts of the world as the holiday is seen as a time for respectfully remembering the dead.
However, Venice is known for its elaborate and glamorous masquerade balls, so it’s no surprise that Halloween celebrations here are just as extravagant.
👻 I went on an excellent ghost tour in Venice and loved learning about the spooky history of the city.
6. Paris, France
Is Halloween celebrated in France? The answer is also yes!
Paris may be known as the City of Love, but it’s also a great destination for Halloween. The city holds various events such as haunted houses, ghost tours, and themed parties.
You can even take a spooky night tour of the famous Catacombs or visit the eerie Pere Lachaise Cemetery.
👻 For an unforgettable experience in Paris, I recommend this guided tour of the catacombs which gives you VIP access to parts of the catacombs that are usually restricted! The guides are super knowledgeable and passionate about the catacombs which really enhances your experience.
7. Amsterdam, Netherlands
Halloween in the Netherlands may not be as big of a holiday, but they still have some fun events to celebrate.
👻 For a fun night out on Halloween in Amsterdam, try this spooky-themed red light pub crawl!
8. Copenhagen, Denmark
Denmark may not have a long-standing tradition of celebrating Halloween, but they have been embracing it more and more in recent years.
Copenhagen now hosts various events such as haunted houses, pumpkin carving contests, and costume parties. You can also take a spooky ghost tour through the city.
👻 The Tivoli theme park is the best place to spend Halloween in Copenhagen, with its famous Halloween-themed rides, decorations and attractions, it’s super fun for both adults and kids.
9. Darmstadt, Germany
Does Germany celebrate Halloween? In some areas, yes! Darmstadt in Germany hosts one of the best Halloween parties in Europe.
Perched atop a hill in Darmstadt, Germany, is Castle Frankenstein, a site closely associated with Mary Shelley’s iconic novel.
Overlooking the city, the 13th-century castle is home to Germany’s oldest Halloween show which has been enchanting guests since 1977. Every Halloween, the castle and its surroundings are transformed into a spooky Halloween wonderland!
10. Glastonbury, UK
I grew up close to Glastonbury and still visit often, so I know firsthand how amazing it is as a Halloween destination!
Known for its connection to King Arthur and its mystical energy, Glastonbury hosts a huge “Samhain Festival” to celebrate Halloween.
The festival includes a Halloween ball, live music, street performers, and plenty of spooky activities.
You can also visit the famous Glastonbury Tor, said to be the portal to the Fae realm, for a creepy night tour or join a ghost walk through the town’s haunted streets.
👻 If you want to experience something paranormal then I recommend staying at the George & Pilgrims Hotel, the inn has been in operation since the 15th century and is said to be haunted. My mum insists that she saw the ghost of a monk in her room when we stayed there!
Celebrating Halloween in one of these spooky destinations will be a truly unique travel experience!
In addition to these top destinations, there are plenty of other European cities that celebrate Halloween in their own unique ways.
So if you’re looking for a fun and spooky holiday experience, look no further than Europe – the continent has got you covered!
FAQs: Does Europe Celebrate Halloween?
Do any European countries celebrate Halloween?
Yes, many European countries celebrate Halloween in their own unique ways. Some countries with a long history of celebrating include Ireland, Scotland, and Romania.
In which European countries did Halloween start?
Halloween is believed to have originated in Ireland as the Celtic holiday of Samhain, but it has evolved and spread to other countries over time.
Do Europeans go trick-or-treating?
Trick-or-treating is not as widely practiced in Europe as it is in countries like the United States. Some countries, such as Ireland and the UK, do have a tradition of children going door-to-door for treats on Halloween night.
Which countries do not celebrate Halloween?
Halloween is not widely celebrated in some European countries, such as Spain and Portugal. However, the holiday has been gaining popularity in these countries in recent years. Some Eastern European countries, such as Belarus and Russia, also do not traditionally celebrate Halloween.
Where is Halloween most celebrated in Europe?
Some of the most popular destinations for Halloween in Europe include Edinburgh, London, Derry, Paris, and Amsterdam. However, other cities like Copenhagen, Darmstadt, Prague, and Glastonbury also have amazing celebrations.
What is the Halloween capital of Europe?
The title of “Halloween capital” is often given to Derry, Northern Ireland. The city hosts various events and activities for the holiday, including a massive street party on Halloween night. However, other cities like Darmstadt in Germany and Glastonbury in England are also known for their Halloween festivities.
Do British people trick or treat?
Yes, trick-or-treating is a popular activity among children in the UK on Halloween night. However, some neighborhoods may not participate or have different traditions, so it’s always best to check before going out. Additionally, many adults in the UK also celebrate Halloween by dressing up and attending parties or events.
Is trick or treating illegal in the UK?
No, trick-or-treating is not illegal in the UK. However, some cities or neighborhoods may have their own rules and regulations regarding the holiday. It’s always best to check with local authorities if you’re unsure about any Halloween traditions or activities in a specific area.
How is Halloween celebrated in Europe?
Halloween is celebrated in various ways across Europe, with each country adding its own twist to the holiday. Some common traditions include carving pumpkins, dressing in costumes, and decorating homes with spooky decorations. Many cities also host events such as haunted houses, themed parties, festivals, and parades.
In which country is Halloween most popular?
Halloween is most popular in countries with a long history of celebrating the holiday, such as Ireland, Scotland, and the UK. However, other European countries like Germany and Italy have also been embracing Halloween more and more in recent years.
Do people dress up for Halloween in Europe?
Yes, dressing up in costumes is a popular Halloween tradition in Europe. Many people, both adults and children, enjoy getting creative with their costumes and participating in costume parties or events. However, some countries may have specific cultural or religious traditions that influence the type of costumes worn on Halloween.
When did Europe start celebrating Halloween?
Halloween is believed to have originated in Europe, specifically Ireland, as the Celtic holiday of Samhain. However, it wasn’t until the 19th century that Halloween celebrations became more widespread and popular throughout Europe. Today, many European countries continue to celebrate this spooky holiday with their own unique traditions and festivities.
Do they celebrate Halloween in Italy?
Yes, Halloween is becoming more and more popular in Italy. While it may not have the same level of celebration as countries like Ireland or the UK, there are still plenty of events and activities to enjoy on Halloween night.
Why doesn’t France celebrate Halloween?
France does celebrate Halloween, but it is not as widely celebrated as in other countries. This is due to the fact that France has its own traditional holiday called La Toussaint (All Saints’ Day) on November 1st, which also involves honoring and remembering the dead.
What does Spain do for Halloween?
Spain has a long history of celebrating All Saints’ Day and All Souls’ Day, which are both tied to Halloween. While Spain may not have the same level of celebration as other countries, many Spaniards now also celebrate Halloween with events such as costume parties and trick-or-treating.
Do any other countries celebrate Halloween?
Yes, many other countries in Europe celebrate Halloween in their own unique ways. Some examples include Romania’s tradition of lighting candles and leaving offerings for the dead, Germany’s annual pumpkin festival, and Sweden’s All Saints’ Day celebrations.
In what country is Halloween most popular?
It is difficult to determine which country has the most popular Halloween celebrations, as it often depends on personal preferences and individual experiences. However, countries such as Ireland, Scotland, and the UK are known for their long-standing traditions and enthusiastic celebrations of Halloween.
Final Thoughts: Does Europe Celebrate Halloween?
The answer to the question “Does Europe celebrate Halloween?” is that the celebration of Halloween in Europe is as diverse as the continent itself!
From the Samhain roots of Ireland to the emerging enthusiasm in Italy, the spirit of Halloween thrives across different cultures, each bringing its unique flavor to this fascinating holiday.
Whether you’re chasing the ghost tours of Edinburgh, joining the grand parade in Derry, or participating in partying in Dracula’s castle in Transylvania, there’s no shortage of Halloween fun to be had. S
o, no matter where in Europe you find yourself come October 31st, rest assured, the ghoulish delight of Halloween is never too far away!
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