Halloween around The World

I didn’t grow up celebrating Halloween in Romania but quickly came to enjoy the holiday in the U.S.

So, let’s go around the world and see what other countries do on this, one of the oldest holidays:

Romania (country of my birth).

Halloween became popular in the mid 1990s. Now, it is a time for costumes and parties.


Halloween celebrations in Canada began with the arrival of Scottish and Irish immigrants in the 1800s. Jack O’Lanterns are carved and the festivities include parties, trick-or-treating and decorating.


In China, the Halloween festival is known as Teng Chieh. Food and water are placed in front of photographs of family members who have departed. Worshipers in Buddhist temples fashion “boats of the law” from paper, which are then burned in the evening hours to free the spirits so they might ascend to heaven.  


At one time, English children made “punkies” out of large beetroots, upon which they carved various designs. They would carry their “punkies” through the streets while singing the “Punkie Night Song” as they knocked on doors and asked for money.  


Unlike most nations , Halloween is not celebrated by the French in order to honor the departed ancestors. It is regarded as an “American” holiday and was virtually unknown in the country until around 1996. Not much different from Romania.


In Ireland, believed to be the birthplace of Halloween, the tradition is still celebrated as much as it is in the U.S.

Bonfires are lit as they were in the days of the Celts and children dress up in costumes to spend the evening “trick-or-treating” in their neighborhoods. Most people attend parties with neighbors and friends.

Children are also known to “knock-a-dolly,” where they knock on the doors of their neighbors  then run away before the door is opened.

Mexico, Latin America And Spain

Among Spanish-speaking nations, Halloween is known as “El Dia de los Muertos.” It is a time to remember friends and family who have died. Officially commemorated on November 2 (All Souls’ Day), the three-day celebration begins on October 31.

Many families construct an altar in their home and decorate it with candy, flowers, photographs, fresh water, and food. A basin and towel are left out so the spirit can wash prior to indulging in the feast. Candles are burned to help the departed find their way home.

On November 2, relatives gather at the gravesite to picnic and reminisce. Some of these gatherings may include tequila and a mariachi band although American Halloween customs are gradually taking over this celebration.

~~~~~~   I hope you’ll return for a picture-only post after Halloween (We’ll document our trick-or-treating experience). In the meantime, I’d love to read your favorite Halloween story.


Images credit:

An Orange a Day: tonysorangeblog.blogspot.co.; Pumpkin skull: hawaiidermatology.com


13 responses to “Halloween around The World

  1. You skipped Germany for a good reason, Sylvia. Here All Saints’ Day is celebrated on Nov 1, and All Souls’ Day on Nov 2 when people visit the graves of departed family members. Usually that’s the time when warm coats and boots are pulled from the closets, so no picknicks. But of course, the far more fun American way of celebrating is slowly catching on here too. Last year we had the first trick or treater ringing the door bell. :-)
    Let’s see if another one is brave enough this year.

    • Thank you for adding Germany, Edith. I figured it couldn’t be much different from Romania. My friend Heike, a German, said it’s not very popular over there, but it sounds like the fever is catching on. We get a lot of trick-or-treaters — some infants in their mothers’ arms, who have no clue what’s going on, but look so cute in their costumes. Hope you get some more this year. It’s cold over there, not wonder kids stay home. We expect temps in the low 80s over here. Sorry … :)

  2. Somehow, I don’t quite believe you’re sorry, Silvia. :-)

  3. But your tongue on that temp! It’s in the 40s here, and I’m not excited about going out stomping around in hopes of a bucketful of Tootsie Rolls (though I do love them). But I’ve agreed to go this year because one daughter has to work, so Papa and Nema (hubby and I) will be herding the grandkids through cold and drizzly weather, hoping not to see a ghost, and giving our grandchildren a chilly but fun time. :-)

    • You’re such good Papa and Nema. Keep away from them ghosts, now, and the chainsaw holding ghouls. It will be fun, I’m sure. Hugs, Deb.
      Nice, long, warm hugs to you in Minnesota.

  4. Enjoyed this post thanks Sylvia. Here in South Africa it is also being ‘recognised’ as a fun thing to do but has nowhere the scope of the US. You’re sure to have fun in spite of the cold weather!

  5. Just love the international info on Halloween. Learned something new! Here in Canada we usually get 100-150 youngsters @ our door, and with temps about 0-+2C they are bundled warmly. 80F… really..Hmmm, If I came to your
    door all dressed in costume, could I get a package of warmth to last the winter?! LOL. Great post.

    • Patricia, yes. Come on over and you’ll get warmth and candy (or we have a glass of wine, whichever you prefer). Brrr … cold, but I bet it’s beautiful … a real winter wonderland.

  6. Very informative! It’s not celebrated in Sweden at all, unless customs have changed. My oldest did homework and my youngest went to a party where they went to the park and shot each other with nerf guns…
    Tina @ Life is Good

  7. We had a fun Halloween night. Lots of trick-or-treaters. It is a holiday to be a little crazy, wear a fun costume and greet the neighbors. I also like carving pumpkins.

  8. Hi Silvia .. it’s sad we’re becoming so much the same everywhere around the world and forgetting our history and our festivals …

    Great to read the different celebrations – cheers Hilary

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