Special Report

27 Cool and Creepy Halloween Traditions From Around the World

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16. Mexico
> Tradition: building altars and eating “bread of the dead”

Mexico and other Latin American countries celebrate a two-day Día de Los Muertos, or the Day of the Dead, on Nov. 1 and 2. The first day is dedicated to deceased children, called angelitos, or “little angels”; the second is the Day of the Dead proper. One important activity is the building of temporary altars as tributes to the departed. These are adorned with candy and other confections, including skulls made of sugar, bottles of tequila or other liquors for adults, toys for children, and objects of significance to the dead, as well as marigolds — said to attract the spirits to their offerings. Calacas — colorfully dressed comical skeletons and skeleton masks — are seen everywhere. People also eat pan de muerto or “bread of the dead”.

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17. The Netherlands
> Tradition: partying throughout the country

Halloween isn’t a traditional holiday in the Netherlands, but it has been embraced as a great excuse to party. This year’s options include a Japanese horror-themed party in Amsterdam, Crazy Sexy Cool Festival in Rotterdam, and Fantasy Fest in The Hague. There is a more traditional Halloween-like holiday, St. Martin’s Day, on Nov. 11.

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18. Norway
> Tradition: visiting haunted places

Halloween is a popular time to visit haunted places in Norway. These include Nidaros Cathedral in Trondheim, which is said to be haunted by a spectral monk; Akershus Fortress in Oslo, which is believed to be patrolled by a demon dog that was buried alive centuries ago; and Nes church, which is said to somehow interfere with the locks and lights of cars parked nearby.

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19. The Philippines
> Tradition: singing songs

Pangangaluluwa — the Filipino equivalent of Halloween — is observed on the night of Nov. 1, although the practice is dying out, especially in urban areas. The celebration involves groups of people going house to house after visiting the graves of loved ones, singing songs, and asking for prayers and donations (for the local church).

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20. Poland
> Tradition: lighting candles at cemeteries

Poles celebrate Zaduszki, All Souls’ Day or the Day of the Dead, on Nov. 2. It’s one of the most important family holidays in Poland, and relatives gather around graves of family members and light candles. Many of the traditions surrounding Zaduszki have ancient pagan roots. It was believed that the spirits of the dead would return on that day, and it was very important not to disturb or anger them.