Halloween isn't just for kids; it gives every adult the excuse to gorge themselves on sweets, dress up like a werewolf and party until the early hours. If you ain't afraid of no ghost, and want to know where in the world the best Halloween celebrations lie, then read on, as here is our top five.
Many assume that Halloween's origins stem from America, but in actual fact it's a Celtic holiday which began in Ireland, known as the Samhain Festival. When the Irish immigrated to America to escape famine, they took their traditions with them. It wasn't long until US citizens joined in; combining it with their own traditions such as pumpkin carving, creating the Halloween we know and love today.
If you want to mark the beginning of the darker half of the year in true Irish style, you need to head to Londonderry for its fantastic five-day event. At the Banks of the Foyle Halloween Carnival, you'll witness the largest street parade in Europe, which always centres around a different theme every year. It's worth sticking around for the full five days, as there's a variety of free and paid activities for kids and adults alike to take part in. Plus, the festival comes to a close with an amazing fireworks finale.
Mexico's version of Halloween is known as Dia de los Meurtos, or the Day of the Dead. This colourful festival means to honour the dead, and it's believed that the spirits return to their families once again on this day. The three-day long event begins on October 31 and ends on November 2.
You'll find some of the best and most vibrant marketplaces in Oaxaca - you can't come home without picking up a souvenir after all! There's a lot more to see over the three day period though, including cemetery vigils, sand tapestry competitions and decorated Day of the Dead alters. The night-time processions, or camparas, will be what makes this holiday truly unforgettable, though.
New Orleans, USA
The US is home to many a great Halloween celebration, but one of the best arguably takes places in New Orleans, the most haunted city in America. Start your terrifying trip to the Big Easy with a ghoulish tour through the French Quarter, where you'll find a number of voodoo shops. Maybe you'll pick up a useful spell or two.
If voodoo isn't your thing, there are stores that cater specifically for vampires too. Yes, really. Some even run special events over the Halloween period, so be sure to check before you go. Don't worry if you get there without a scary outfit; New Orleans is full of costume stores, stocking everything from creepy masks to cute cat ears.
Once you've got your bat wings on, you can join in with the street parties, which often surround a particular theme. Time to get your freak on.
Where better to visit for Halloween than the place where the legend of Dracula was born? He even hosts his own party on the 31st at Bran Castle. Hopefully the drink of choice is a Bloody Mary, rather than actual blood.
Although Dracula is a fictional character, he was based on the very real Vlad the Impaler, who once ruled the region. We recommend going on a spooky tour or two to hear some more about his horrid past and learn of the other legends that surround this part of Romania.
Do take some time to explore the beauty of the mountains, medieval towns and castles that can be found here. Despite its creepy reputation, it's one of the most stunning, fairytale-like places you'll ever visit.
Hong Kong, China
Asia isn't well known for celebrating Halloween, but in recent years Hong Kong in particular has embraced the holiday, and all the scares that go with it. Come late October, you'll find the shopping centres and theme parks are all adorned with spooky decorations.
It's the theme parks that hold all the best parties though, as Ocean Park hosts the biggest Halloween theme park event in Asia. Apparently, more than 1,000 extra employees and performers are hired especially for it, allowing the park to put on special live shows, attractions and games. Be sure to bring a great costume, as there's even a contest for the best.
Younger children might prefer to go Disneyland to celebrate Halloween and see their favourite characters dancing in the themed parade. They can even go trick or treating with Mickey and his friends.
Whatever you do this Halloween, we hope you have a frighteningly fun time. It's time to start planning your trip and making that costume.
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