Haunted

Halloween Around the World

Halloween may be an American tradition, but its roots go way back. All the best superstitions of the Roman, Celtic, Catholic and European folk traditions, as well as good old American greed, have morphed into the modern-day celebration of Halloween. Second only to Christmas in spending, this superstition-rich amalgam of a holiday has become a celebration of our need to embrace our more base desires. See how countries around the world put their own spooky spin on Halloween, as well as honor spirits from beyond the grave.

Chad Champoux

United States

Where Christmas celebrates good cheer, Halloween has become a night for sensual, sybaritic revelry in the United States. It’s a chance to mask our socially-accepted selves and explore the darker side of our nature in a fun, harmless manner. What started in Europe as a day to cast out evil spirits and keep them from ruining crops or starting other mayhem, has become a celebration of self-indulgence -- especially for children, who get to dress up and go from house to house demanding “trick or treat!” Big Halloween events in the US include: Guavaween, Tampa, FL; Festival of the Dead, Salem, MA; West Hollywood Halloween Carnival, West Hollywood, CA; and Fetish & Fantasy Halloween Ball, Las Vegas.
AFP/Getty Images

France

The French are not typically fain to adopt any celebration with a bourgeois whiff to it, but in recent years, with the help of Coca-Cola, McDonald’s and Francophile ex-pats, Halloween is taking root in France. And, of course, the French love to dress up and have a party. The jury is still out on if Halloween is gonna stick, but you can be sure that when Yves St. Laurent puts a Halloween costume on the fashion runway, the French take notice. The town of Limoges, goes all out each year with a parade of ghosts and ghouls, and the American Dream Diner in Paris celebrates Halloween robustly as well.
AFP/Getty Images

Mexico

No nation celebrates the dead with festivities better than Mexico. In fact, “Dia de los Muertos” (Day of the Dead), is celebrated over several days, from Oct. 31 through Nov. 2. It’s not Halloween at all, but rather a way that All Souls Day comes to life in Mexico. The celebration offers a chance to remember the deceased, tell their stories and celebrate their lives. Family feasts, skull-shaped sweets, lots of tequila, dancing and mariachi music, as well as parades of people dressed as skeletons, all ensure that one’s ancestors are well remembered. The celebration is embraced across Mexico, with huge festivities even in the smallest of villages.
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