Noisy trick-or-treating kids, glowing jack-o-lanterns and a costume party with booze and dance pretty much sum up how most of us have been spending our the night of 31st of October for years now.
However, Halloween also calls for the perfect October getaway thanks to its mystic atmosphere, with stifled breezes wheezing through countrysides and muffled steps suppressing the crunch of the autumn leaves.
So this Halloween, you should try doing something different. What about doing a city hopping experience for Halloween? Read on to discover some of the best Halloween holiday celebrations and their destinations (yes, that’s a thing!) across the globe.
1. Day of The Dead, Mexico
In Mexico, the dead are remembered and their lives are honored in a three-day affair that commences from the 31st of October and continues up to the All Saints Day on the 2nd of November. The Dia de Muertos is the perfect time to immerse oneself in the local Mexican traditions as people decorate altars and graves of their deceased beloveds. An elaborate arrangement of marigolds and other flowers, food, drinks, and gifts are offered on the ofrendas. Grand parades in eerie yet vivacious Mexican garbs mark the streets. Sugar Candy skulls with inscriptions and other souvenirs call for symbolic takeaways from the UNESCO’s intangible cultural heritage of humanity.
2. Haunted Happenings, Salem
Month-long celebrations ensue in Salem, the world’s witch capital. Centuries have passed since the tragic witch burning of 1692 that put Salem on the map. As false as the trial itself was, the residents of Salem decided to humor themselves with their spooky reputation and has played host to the Haunted Happenings Halloween celebrations since 1982. Although various themed balls, concerts, art exhibitions, and family’ shows and events form a major part of Salem’s Halloween gala, the chilling echoes of the 1692 burnings can be relived in the haunted hour tours, haunted walks, re-enactment at the Salem Witch Museum, and a visit to the Jonathan Corwin House, history’s only remaining testimony to the gruesome 1692 trials.
3. Bran’s Castle, Romania
The horrifically historical yet majestically beautiful Bran’s Castle on the Transylvanian and Wallachian borders, rooted deeply in folklore and history, beckons hundreds of tourists every year to spend the Halloween with Count Dracula. At Bran’s Castle (also known as Dracula’s Castle), the thin line between myth and history blurs as you ascend the picturesque city. The Gothic castle looms high above a moorish landscape in the silent October autumn air giving you the chills. Imagine what it would be like to spend the most fearful night of the year in Count Dracula’s lair!
With access to certain public sections, Dracula’s Castle plays host to a costume dance party every year, complete with the gruesome re-enactment of Vlad “The Impaler’s” torturous treatments amidst the medieval styled assortment of pies and meat dishes. The blood fountain pouring an unlimited supply of the Red Wine is a special attraction. Treading the dimly lit castle that once housed some gruesome tortures at the hands of the tyrannical Vlad is especially worth looking forward to.
4. Samhain, Ireland
Find answers to your Halloween peeves as you trace the journey of its origin back to its birthplace. Known as Samhain in Ireland, the day that has evolved into Halloween in many western cultures today observed the Celtic New Year. Besides harvest gathering, Samhain was thought to be the night when the dead and the departed returned to the earth and evil spirits followed them. Food and drinks were offered to departed souls (which evolved into modern day “Trick-Or-Treat”) and communal fires were lit to ward off the evil spirits. People disguised themselves in the garbs of scary spirits and lit candles in turnips to ward off the malicious presences.
Visit Ireland during Halloween to experience a lot more such traditional customs that still echo the cultural Irish Samhain authenticity. While you’re at it, don’t forget to catch a glimpse of the modern-day Ireland in the banks of the Foyle Halloween Carnival in Derry City – which breathes life through live music and concluding fireworks, tours of haunted castles in Dublin, flash-mobs, and a host of family events at the legendary Bunratty Castle and Folk Park.
5. French Quarters, New Orleans
A neighborhood rife with voodoo and other occult practices, New Orleans’ French quarters doesn’t need preparation to immerse itself into the mystic Halloween atmosphere. Even as you step into the Vieux Carré, you can feel the chill of the October air. Kick off your Halloween celebrations with the Krewe of Boo traditional Halloween parade creeping through the winding streets in elaborately outlandish costumes, a colorful spectre indeed.
Delve into history at blood-curdling haunted house tours in Uptown and the Garden District. Evoke the child within at the Zoo annual extravaganza or simply head to the French Market with your family for some fun quality time. Attend the Thriller Flashmob or walk up to the Frenchmen Street, the Bourbon Street and the St. Ann street for some Halloween street regalia. Check out the most interesting Halloween disguises or become one at the annual Vampire Ball. Take back a piece of the voodoo fever with you from the Voodoo Music and Art Experience and one of the many voodoo souvenir shops scattered across the French Quarters and elsewhere.
And no matter where you go, let Halloween be the one event you celebrate differently before the year draws to a close. Ditch the local balls and get ready to immerse yourself in some of the most historic Halloween parties and celebrations across the world.