How do people celebrate Halloween around the world?


What do you think of when you hear the word “Halloween”? For most people, Halloween brings up images of fancy dress parties and children dressed in costumes as ghosts and witches, trick-or-treating (going door to door asking for sweets) through the streets. The truth, though, is that Halloween is an ancient festival that has nothing to do with sweets, and in many parts of the world it’s not really a festival for children. In this blog, we’re going to tell you about how people around the world celebrate Halloween.

Ireland / Scotland: Samhain

Samhain is the original Halloween. It is an ancient Celtic festival to celebrate the coming of winter. The Celtic people of Ireland and Scotland believed that in the autumn, as the line between summer and winter becomes blurred, the line between the living and the dead does too. They believed that for one day a year the spirits of their ancestors could come and visit them, so they dressed in costumes as evil spirits and celebrated their ancestors with a great feast.

Japan: Kawasaki Halloween Parade

This celebration, in Japan, is a gigantic costume party that’s definitely not for kids. Every Halloween thousands of people get together and party around the Kawasaki Station on the outskirts of Tokyo. As many as 4,000 people get together in the streets, dressed in crazy costumes. It’s one of the biggest parties of the year.

Guatemala: Giant Kite Festival

In many Christian countries, like Mexico and Italy, the 1st of November is a religious holiday, All Saints Day. In many folk traditions the day before the 1st is called the day of the dead, because it’s believed that the dead can cross over to the land of the living on that day. Guatemala, too, has Day of the Dead celebrations, but with an interesting twist. In the town of Sumpango, they celebrate this day with a giant kite festival. They build giant, colourful kites to honour the dead and fly them around cemeteries.

So, however you celebrate Halloween this year, remember that there are millions of people celebrating with you around the world in their own unique way.


This is Ingla School of English‘s weekly blog, intended as reading practise for our students in Turnpike Lane, in London, and around the globe. We hope you’ve enjoyed it and take a look at the rest of our writing, much of which has activities for teachers to use in the classroom.