Halloween on a college campus can be a whole lot of fun. Inevitably, there’s always that one over-memed costume that way too many people have chosen to wear. But Halloween isn’t just for young Americans — lots of people and cultures around the world have their own spooky traditions this time of year.
You won’t want to miss these Halloween traditions from around the world.
1. South Africa – Zombie Walk 🇿🇦
Every year in Cape Town, South Africa, thousands of people dressed as zombies gather to march, or lurch, down the streets. While these zombies may seem scary, they do it for a good cause! The event raises money for local charities such as the Lucky Lucy Foundation for abused and neglected animals.
Pro-tip: Spend your fall semester with AIFS Abroad in Stellenbosch to experience this tradition for yourself. It’s just a stone’s throw from Cape Town!
2. South Korea – Korean Folk Village 🇰🇷
Halloween isn’t popular in Korea just yet, but where they do celebrate, South Koreans put their own spin on the holiday! In Yongin, a group of performers get together to don makeup and costumes and recreate popular Korean urban legends and myths, such as dokkaebi (Korean goblins) or the gumiho (a nine tailed fox).
Pro-tip: Spend your fall semester with AIFS Abroad in Seoul to experience this tradition for yourself.
3. Germany – Kürbisfest 🇩🇪
Halloween is growing in popularity in Germany, partially because it ties in well with their already established tradition of Kürbisfest, or pumpkin festival. The Ludwigsburg Kürbisfest is the country’s largest, boasting 450,000 pumpkins and 600 varieties. They even carve gigantic pumpkins into boats and race them!
Pro-tip: Spend your fall semester with AIFS Abroad in Berlin to experience this tradition for yourself.
4. Ecuador – GuaGuas de Pan 🇪🇨
Much like the Mexico’s Día de los Muertos, Ecuador celebrates Día de los Difuntos, or “Day of the Deceased” to honor their relatives and ancestors who have passed on. Family members bring food to the graves of their loved ones and have a meal while keeping them company. One of the traditional foods eaten in this celebration is GuaGuas de Pan, sweet bread shaped to look like babies. These bread babies are covered in icing and contain jam inside, fulfilling the promise of “treats” much like candy in America does.
5. Ireland – Samhain 🇮🇪
Halloween in Ireland looks eerily similar to Halloween in the United States, and for good reason — it’s said to have originated there! Halloween is based off a 2,000-year-old pagan holiday known in Gaelic as Samhain, in which trick-or-treating, bobbing for apples, and carving jack-o-lanterns were all apart. During the great famine, millions of Irish people emigrated across the world, taking the tradition of Samhain along with them. There are few traditions that didn’t catch on in other countries however, such as eating a traditional dinner of Colcannon (boiled potatoes, curly kale, and raw onions) before heading out to the festivities. Legend has it if you find a ring in your Colcannon, you will be married within the year.
Pro-tip: Spend your fall semester with AIFS Abroad in Maynooth, Dublin, Galway, or Limerick to experience this tradition for yourself.
Intrigued by these Halloween traditions from around the world? Experience them for yourself when you study or intern abroad!
Participating in a global education experience is a great way to connect with other cultures and celebrate new traditions. Study abroad or do an international internship during fall semester to experience the magic of Halloween and similar holidays in new and exciting destinations around the world.