There’s a lot more to Halloween than ghoulish costumes, pumpkins and trick-or-treating than you might think, although what’s the 31st of October without all those things? All over the world, Halloween is celebrated in unique ways – here are our favourite destinations for the spookiest festival of the year.
‘The Day of the Dead’, Mexico’s Halloween, is actually an upbeat festival, despite the morbid name. On the 1st and 2nd of November, Mexicans take to the streets and cemeteries to celebrate the lives of the deceased, a festivity which involves a lot of dancing, feasting and yes, tequila. El Día de los Muertos is a national holiday in Mexico and is a fantastic time to visit, what with all the lively parades and lavish decorations everywhere you go, not to mention fantastic costumes – expect to make a lot of skeleton friends on this holiday.
The USA has made Halloween what it is today and it really goes all out at this time of year. In Salem, Massachusetts, there are huge celebrations all month long, the most famous of all being the Halloween Ball. The reason behind this is that back in the 17th century, this was the site for the famous witch trials which saw the execution of so-called ‘witches.’ In New York City, the Village Halloween Parade is a huge fright-fest with around 50,000 participants dressed-up in gruesome costumes. The animated march goes on for three hours and is packed with live music, dancers, giant puppets and drag queens along Sixth Avenue.
Not many know about Samhain (the Celtic for Halloween) but it is a spectacular festival in Ireland. In Derry, the streets are flooded with people taking part in the Banks of the Foyle Halloween Carnival, with fireworks and haunted houses to boot. If you tag along you absolutely must dress up – you won’t be served in the pubs otherwise!
It doesn’t exactly spring to mind when you think of Halloween, but this year Paris is paying its own tribute to the spooky festival. Beneath the chic streets of this charming city, creepy catacombs hold the skulls and bones of six million Parisians of the past, a subterranean jungle once the stomping ground of French smugglers. Les Catacombes is staying open late this Halloween for an even eerier tour of this sinister underworld.