How is Halloween Celebrated around the World?

3 min read

While Halloween conjures images of candy and costumes around the U.S., the holiday looks different across the globe. Halloween might look slightly different this year since we are still amid a global pandemic, but we can reminisce on years past. Read on to see what other countries do on October 31. Here’s a breakdown of how is Halloween celebrated in other countries.



Not all countries celebrate Halloween, and some are just beginning to open their arms to it albeit somewhat begrudgingly. England falls in this category because it already has a holiday on November 5, Guy Fawkes Day, which dates back to 1605. The day looks back on the infamous Gunpowder Plot when Catholics tried to blow up Parliament and King James I in 1605. Film buffs will recognize it from the movie V for Vendetta. Halloween and Guy Fawkes Day clashed at first. But now, many are attempting to merge traditions. Don’t miss the history behind these spooky superstitions.


While children in Mexico also go trick-or-treating on Oct. 31, it acts as a primer for another celebration: el Día de Los Muertos, or Day of the Dead, which takes place on Nov. 1 and 2. Observers say the Mexican holiday, which dates back 3,000 years to pre-Columbian Mesoamerica, occurs when the gates of heaven open, allowing the spirit of a deceased loved one to be reunited with their still-living family.

Family members may prepare a feast with the deceased’s favorite foods or leave gifts on their gravesite. Festival-goers will don skull masks and eat skull-shaped sweets. And the holiday, once typically celebrated only in rural, Indigenous parts of the country, is now celebrated in major cities, including the capital, Mexico City.


Seeing as how the origin of modern-day Halloween traces back to the ancient Celts, it comes as no surprise that the Irish have a unique way of celebrating the holiday. For Americans, simply any kind of candy on Halloween will do. For the Irish, however, it’s not just the candy that is important, but a sweet bread called Barmbrack, which serves as its official Halloween dessert. Find out why they carve pumpkins on Halloween before you start carving this year’s Halloween jack-o-lantern. Plus, learn the best tricks to make your carved pumpkin last longer.


Guatemalans also honor the dead during the first couple of days of November. During the Barriletes Gigantes, or “giant kites” festival, Guatemalans populate the sky with massive, colorful kites.

The kites, which can go up to 40 feet in the air, are often hand-painted and fly over the graves of loved ones who have passed away. The kites are said to represent a bridge between the living and the dead.


Halloween only started to catch on in Bavaria roughly 20 years ago. Some still resist the holiday, but others celebrate it by attending the Pumpkin Festival in Retzer Land or touring the old ruins of Burg Frankenstein castle, which is where the Frankenstein horror story began. These spooky Halloween legends refuse to die.

Despite the few people that celebrate Halloween in Germany and the controversy around it, there are more than enough events that people can go to and celebrate this creepy day. The cool thing is that either Halloween or the day afterward will most likely be a holiday where you live.


On Nov. 1, Italians celebrate Ognissanti, or “all saints,” a festival with deep religious undertones. While it’s common to see Italian holidays dedicated to a specific saint, this holiday is dedicated to all of the saints as a whole.

How the holiday is celebrated varies by region: in Sicily, the deceased rise from the dead to bring gifts to well-behaved children, while children in Sardinia go door to door to ask for offerings from the deceased. Romans will eat a meal near the gravesites of loved ones, while people in the region of Abruzzo and Trentino fashion lanterns by placing candles in pumpkins.


The Scotts say that a certain Halloween ritual will tell you if you and your lover are truly meant to be: Throw nuts into a fire. If they fracture and crack loudly, it looks like you won’t be hearing wedding bells any time soon. If they roast quietly, your relationship will be nothing but smooth sailing. This is why stores put out Halloween candy so early.

In the past, communities would light huge bonfires to keep evil spirits at bay. In true Scottish tradition, scary faces were carved into neeps (turnips) to create lanterns that would scare off ghouls wandering in the witching hours.


In China, the Qingming festival is a holiday reserved for celebrating the deceased. The event, which is also known as Tomb Sweeping Day, draws Chinese people to literally sweep and clean the tombs of loved ones. The act is considered to be one of the most respectful acts one can take to honor the deceased. However, China does have its own equivalent of the Day of the Dead. It actually occurs not on one day but several.


Russia emphatically does not celebrate Halloween. In fact, Russians are very vocal about why the holiday is not welcome in their country. Some politicians and religious groups say it goes against their Christian and cultural values and traditions.

In Russia, four out of five people are aware that Oct. 31 is the date of the “horrible” Halloween, on the eve of All Saints’ Day. Only one in twenty Russians, however, plans to observe this holiday. Traditionally, it is extremely popular with American youth.


Although Halloween, which is observed worldwide on Oct 31, is not widely celebrated in Malaysia, many Malaysians have private parties or gatherings just for fun. They get dressed up in scary costumes and even decorate their homes so it looks spooky just to get into the spirit of Halloween.

Chinese communities in Malaysia celebrate the Hungry Ghost Festival as well. Part of its celebration includes entertaining performances from opera to puppet shows. The same is true of Chinese communities found in Singapore.



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