How Halloween is Celebrated Around the World
These three countries get into the holiday spirit in very different ways.
Whether with trick-or-treating, a festival celebrating those who’ve passed away, or paying respects by attending church, countries all around the world celebrate Halloween (or versions of it) in their own ways. Three of the most unique, below.
Halloween in Ireland
The Irish have celebrated Halloween for centuries—and, today, it remains a holiday staple just as it does in the United States. All over the country, people get into the spirit with festive costumes, trick-or-treating, bonfires, and party games (like treasure hunts); traditional foods like barmbrack (a fruitcake with coins, buttons, rings, and various other objects baked into it) are typically on offer.
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Dia de los Muertos in Mexico
Though Halloween is celebrated in Mexico (on October 31), it takes a backseat to Dia de los Muertos (“Day of the Dead”), which starts on the night of the 31st and continues through All Saints Day and All Souls Day (November 1-2 in the Catholic calendar, respectively). Instead of focusing on fright and terror, though, the holiday is a celebration of those who have passed away. In towns and cities throughout the country, there are parades and parties; people wear colorful costumes and make offerings to their lost loved ones. Calacas and calaveras (skeletons and skulls) are ubiquitous during the holiday—as parade masks, dolls, and more.
All Saints Day in Germany
On All Saints Day (November 1) in Germany—and other Catholic parts of the world—people attend church, honoring the saints who have died for the faith; it is also custom for people to visit the graves of their deceased loved ones, to pay their respects. A fun fact: On All Saints Day, Germans also hide their knives, so when spirits return, they won’t be harmed by an errant knife movement.