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Halloween around the World

Mexico, Latin America and Spain

There is a 3-day celebration beginning with October 31 and leading up to All Soul's Day on November 2nd. The dead are thought to return to their earthly homes on Halloween and are honored 3 days later in sacred ceremonies.

It is not uncommon for a family to have altars in their homes in honor of their deceased relatives. These altars are decorated with photos and flowers and will often include some of the deceased's favorite foods. Candles and incense are used to help the spirits find their way.

On November 2nd picnics are held at the graveside of deceased relatives.


It is said to all begin in Ireland, and the day is celebrated in like manner to the United States.


The Germans traditionally do not use knives on Halloween, and in fact will actually put them away. This is to prevent the "incoming spirits" from hurting themselves.


Japan's celebration is called O-Bon and it memorializes dead relatives. Bonfires are used to help spirits find their way home.


On Halloween evening it is traditional to write the name of living family members on a stone and then place the stones in a pile. A fire is then built over the stones. The family sits around the fire they built and reminisce about deceased family members.

The fire is allowed to burn itself out, and in the morning the family searches through the embers for the stones with the names on it. If the fire has erased the name or for whatever reason the stone can not be found, it is considered an omen that the named person will be dead before next Halloween.


Trick or treating in England goes back to the days of beggars asking for food in exchange for prayers. In addition to praying for the generous (treat) English beggars would curse the cheap and stingy and in fact, pray "against" them (trick).


Although black cats are universally bad luck, in Russia the blue cat is considered to be good luck and is sought out during Halloween to ward off bad spirits. Blue cat breeds include Burmese, British Blue and of course, the Russian Blue.


Some Austrians leave bread and water out (along with a lit lamp) on the bed before retiring for the evening. This is said to be a welcoming gesture for the dead souls returning to the earth for Halloween.


The Chinese festival known as Teng Chieh is celebrated with bonfires and lanterns placed in front of photographs of deceased relatives. Food and water are left out so that when the spirits respond to the fire they will feel welcome.


Chairs for each family member are placed in front of the fireplace. Each person also gets an extra chair for his or her spirit.

Hong Kong

Hong Kong's Halloween celebration is known as The Hungry Ghosts Festival or Yue Lan. During this 24-hour period ghosts and spirits roam freely through the earthly world. The ghosts are comforted by people burning pictures of money and fruit.

Happy Halloween

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