Special Report

27 Cool and Creepy Halloween Traditions From Around the World

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6. England
> Tradition: looking in the mirror

In England, there’s a superstition that a man or woman looking into a mirror in a dark room on Halloween will see the face of his or her future mate in the background. Seeing a skull instead of a face means the person will die before marrying. Britain’s Guy Fawkes Night on Nov. 5 is often seen as a parallel celebration to Halloween, with bonfires and — in earlier times, at least — children crying “A penny for the Guy!” instead of “Trick or treat.” This day isn’t connected with liturgical observance, however. It commemorates the foiling of a plot to blow up the Houses of Parliament.

7. France
> Tradition: dressing up in ghoulish costumes

Halloween isn’t a traditional French holiday, but that hasn’t stopped some people from celebrating. There is a creepy element because when people dress up they choose scary and ghoulish costumes like vampires, ghosts, and skeletons. Halloween is somewhat controversial in France because it’s perceived by some as too commercial, too American, and a threat to French traditions.

Unlike in North America, where anything goes when it comes to Halloween costumes, the few adults and kids who dress up for Halloween in France invariably choose traditionally scary costumes — no cute princesses or tiny firefighters.

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8. Germany
> Tradition: hiding knives

Some Germans hide all their knives at Halloween so that returning souls don’t accidentally cut themselves.

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9. Greece
> Tradition: dressing up in costume for Apokries

Expats and tourists celebrate Halloween in traditional style in Greece, but the locals have their own equivalent, Apokries, which is also known as the Greek Halloween although it is celebrated before the Lent season, not in October. Apokries was originally an ancient Greek celebration dedicated to Dionysius, the Greek god of wine and revelry.

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10. Haiti
> Tradition: performing vodou rituals

Haiti has its own version of the Day of the Dead. It’s called Fet Gede, or Feast of the Dead, and is observed on Nov. 1 and 2. Adherents of vodou (voodoo) who believe they are possessed by the Gede Lwa — spirits of the dead — pay homage to Baron (or Bawon) Samedi, father of the spirits of the dead. They dance wildly in the streets and drink — or even wash themselves with — raw rum spiked with very hot chiles.

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