American Halloween celebrations typically feature jack-o-lanterns, costumes, decorations of skeletons and spider webs, horror movie marathons, and the best part, lots of candy. The tradition stems from the Celtic practice of the Samhain festival which was celebrated in the British Isles and has grown into a holiday that is celebrated throughout the world.
While some countries don’t recognize Halloween at all, others celebrate in a variety of different ways. The one thing that remains consistent across nearly all the cultures that celebrate Halloween is that they believe the souls of the dead return to earth.
Check out these 10 spooky Halloween traditions from around the world.
10 Ireland & Scotland: Samhain Festivities
Many people consider the holiday of Halloween to have originated from the Celtic traditions of Scotland and Ireland. So it comes as no surprise that the locals celebrate Halloween in some of the most exciting ways. These typically reflect the pagan festival known as Samhain, on which Halloween is based. Samhain's history is also quite dark.
The festival was traditionally celebrated to end the light half of the year, according to Mental Floss. To mark it, the Irish and the Scots celebrate with bonfires, ancient games, and authentic foods. If there’s any time to visit Ireland and Scotland, it’s Halloween!
9 Germany: The Burg Frankenstein Castle
If you love to be spooked on Halloween, then you might like to visit Germany and take part in the tradition of going to Burg Frankenstein Castle. Some believe that this castle is the very building that inspired Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, so there really is no better place to celebrate Halloween.
Basically, the festival consists of people dressed up as various famous monsters from pop culture. It’s the perfect type of Halloween party if you love screaming and running away from figures like ghouls and goblins. It usually runs between late October and early November, so you have more than once chance to attend.
8 Japan: Halloween Trains
The only thing better than dressing up in scary costumes and partying on Halloween is dressing up in scary costumes and partying on moving trains on Halloween. This is a tradition in Japan which began in the 1990s and is still carried on in Tokyo today.
The scare factor is turned up a notch here because you can’t simply walk out the door if you decide you’re too scared. At least, not until the train stops. While most people get on the trains purely to enjoy the party, others are simply trying to commute home from work and don’t know what they’re in for!
7 Hong Kong: Ocean Park Halloween Bash
While some Asian countries don’t recognize Halloween at all, others celebrate the holiday with a bang! Hong Kong is one such country, as this is where the Ocean Park Halloween Bash is held. Held for most of the month of October, the festival involves the park turning into a haunted spot full of ghoulish attractions.
Some of the attractions that you can experience while in Ocean Park during the festival include a walk through a haunted hospital, a ride on a Halloween mine train, and the infamous Circus of the Damned.
6 Australia: Seadeck Sydney Ghost Ship
What could be scarier than a ghost ship? Australia has only started celebrating Halloween in recent years. Before that, the holiday was virtually unknown in the country. While Aussies have followed the traditional American customs of trick-or-treating and costume parties, they have also come up with a few traditions of their own. One of these is the Seadeck Sydney Halloween Party.
Guests must dress up and embark on a cruise of Sydney Harbor on the ghost ship. While the party onboard is sure to be a scary one, you could always balance it out with the dazzling views of the Sydney Harbour Bridge as you sail.
5 England: The London Dungeon
The London Dungeon is open all year round, but the scare factor is really raised on Halloween. Guests on Halloween will experience interactive tales from London’s spooky past and possibly come face to face with some of the evilest, notorious, and frightening figures in English history. Be warned: You may run into the likes of Jack the Ripper and Sweeney Todd.
Crawling with escaped convicts, torturers, and plague doctors, the London Dungeon is definitely not for the faint-hearted. Halloween shows usually sell out so you definitely want to book ahead!
4 Wales: Terror Mountain
If you happen to be in Wales over Halloween, you’ll want to check out Terror Mountain. Taking place in an abandoned silver mine that dates back to Victorian times, this really is the scary party to end all scary parties. Those who do celebrate Halloween in Wales flock to the silver mine to be truly terrified.
Inside the mine, you can expect five horror attractions and entertainment that is designed to keep you scared all night. This is perhaps not the most child-friendly Halloween tradition, but it is an extremely fun one if you like a scare!
3 Italy: Walking Dead At Castle Bardi
The world as we know it is no more. A virus has hit humankind and the few survivors take refuge inside the haunted walls of Castle Bardi …but will they survive? Known as The Walking Dead, this game held at Italy’s Castle Bardi is a world of fun and scares for the Italians who do celebrate Halloween.
Situated within the picturesque region of Emilia-Romagna, the castle is rumored to be haunted. Castello di Bardi explains that the building has been haunted ever since a woman jumped from one of the windows after believing her beloved knight was dead.
2 Singapore: Universal Studios Halloween Horror Nights
Looking for a Halloween celebration in Singapore? Then Universal Studios Halloween Horror Nights should be on your list! Inside the theme park during the Halloween Horror Nights, you’ll find haunted houses, various scare zones, and a Halloween carnival.
Those who really enjoy being scared can purchase the R.I.P. experience where they will be personally escorted throughout the park and into all the spooky attractions. Note that this ultra-spooky event is described as being too intense for young children. You might want to avoid bringing guests who are under 13.
1 Romania: A Celebration With Dracula
If you like all things spooky, then a Halloween party at Count Dracula’s castle in Romania needs to be on your bucket list. Today, you can visit Bran Castle in Transylvania, which is believed by some to have been the real castle of Vlad Tepes, the Romanian ruler who inspired the legend of Dracula.
Historians have questioned whether the man ever actually lived at Bran Castle, but why let the truth get in the way of a good Halloween party? You can book in guided tours of the castle around Halloween, or you can even attend one of the creepy parties that are held there.