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Halloween Tours & Trips

If you love Halloween you owe it to yourself to attend the spookiest events set against the most hauntingly beautiful backdrops, and really the only way to do it right is by going on tour! 

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Things to do on Halloween

  • Attend a Halloween Party in Dracula's Castle

    One of the most coveted party spots for Halloween is Dracula’s Castle! Located in Transylvania, Bran Castle is the rumoured inspiration for the setting of Bram Stoker’s Dracula. If you’re lucky, you can attend a Halloween party in this hallowed - and possibly haunted! - castle. Several companies, such as G Adventures, host tours that culminate in a Halloween bash at Dracula’s Castle.
  • Visit spooky towns in the United States

    There are several towns across the United States that seem to celebrate Halloween year-round! Visit a real-life ghost town in Montana, explore the Stanley Hotel from Stephen King’s The Shining, or take a history lesson from the site of the Salem Witch Trials. There are also a number of towns whose culture and history make them perfect Halloween destinations; the Spanish moss covering the trees in Savannah, the creepy underground tunnels in Seattle, the Halloween celebrations in Sleepy Hollow - the possibilities are endless! 
  • Head to Haiti for Fet Gede

    Fet Gede, or the Feast of the Dead, is a Day of the Dead-esque celebration in Haiti. The festival is held annually to honour the Gede, Vodou spirits of the dead. Locals dress up and dance through the streets to the graveyards where their ancestors are buried, where they serve them with gifts of food from their table. Rituals take place over the course of November, but most of the celebrations occur at the beginning of the month.

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Halloween Facts

  • When is Halloween?

    Halloween is always celebrated on October 31st, the day before All Saints Day (November 1st). The name is an abbreviation of the words “hallowed evening,” which is why you’ll occasionally find it spelt “Hallowe’en.” 
  • What countries celebrate halloween?

    Traditional Halloween practices, such as carving pumpkins and trick or treating, began in Ireland, where Halloween is still widely celebrated. However, many of the largest Halloween celebrations currently take place in North America. While traditionally the celebrations have been limited to the West, Halloween has become increasingly-popular in parts of Asia and Australia. 
  • What does Halloween stand for?

    Halloween began 2,000 years ago as the festival Samhain (pronounced sow-in), which marked the end of summer and acknowledged the dead. On Samhain, it was believed that the ghosts of the dead returned to earth. The word Halloween is a contraction of the words “Hallowed Evening,” as the day takes place before All Saint’s Day on November 1st. 
  • How did trick or treating start?

    There are several English, Irish, and Scottish traditions that mirror trick or treating (the practise of children going door-to-door and asking for sweets by saying “trick or treat”), and the common belief is that each of these traditions were brought to North America by immigrants in the 19th and early 20th centuries. As the traditions blended together, modern trick or treating was born!
  • What to pack for Halloween

    First and foremost: if you’re going to be attending a Halloween party, you’ll need a costume! Costumes can range from simple masks or face paint to large-scale homemade creations. Figures from popular culture, characters from beloved movies or books, and topical political jokes or statements are all often worn: it’s up to you!

How to get to Dracula's Castle

The history of Halloween

Descriptions of events very similar to modern celebrations of Halloween can be found in texts that describe ancient Celtic festivals, early Roman Catholic holidays and even the medieval times. 

In ancient times (think pre-Christian), the Celtic festival of Samhain was celebrated on the night of October 31st. The Celts believed that the dead used the night of Samhain to return to Earth. To celebrate, people would hold large gatherings at bonfires and pay homage (sometimes by providing sacrifices) to honour their deceased loved ones. In some villages, residents would dress in animal skins and wear masks in order to go unnoticed by potentially malevolent spirits. They would also lay out banquets with food and drinks to appease these ill-intentioned ghosts. 

By the time the ninth century came around, Christianity was spreading through the Celtic lands and old traditions merged with newer ones. Around 1000 A.D. the church designated November 2nd as All Souls’ Day, a time to honour the deceased. These celebrations retained some of their pagan Celtic roots with their use of bonfires and masks. Poorer villages would visit the homes of the wealthy to receive pastries referred to as “soul cakes” in exchange for the promise that they would pray for the wealthy family’s dead relatives. In Scotland and Ireland, children would dress up in costume and entertain neighbouring households with a song or trick in exchange for food or money. This practice is probably the closest to modern day celebrations of Halloween. 

Also if you’ve ever been told to be wary of black cats, you can give credit to medieval celebrations of Halloween. In the Middle Ages, everyone and their mom seemed to have witch-fever. They feared witches so strongly that they began to believe that these magical ladies were capable of transforming into cats to avoid detection. Funnily enough, this superstition has managed to stand the test of time and to this day people are warned not to allow black cats to cross their paths. 

The essentials

- Bring your costume
- Dress warmly
- Wear comfortable walking shoes 
- You may want to consider starting a cleanse a week or two before in anticipation of all the sugary treats you'll enjoy
- Keep an open mind to get the most out of Halloween 

Did you know?

The word 'witch' comes from the Old English word wicce or wicca
(meaning wise woman)
Adoption of black cats around Halloween is banned in many places
(out of fear they will be sacrificed)
(meaning the fear of Halloween)
Halloween is the second most commercial holiday in America
(second to Christmas)

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