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Barcelona Halloween Guide E-mail

Barcelona Halloween

Updated October 2016

What's on for Barcelona's Halloween celebrations? Although Halloween is not a Spanish or Catalan tradition, the Halloween  tradition has been embraced in Spain and Barcelona in a big way. Barcelona celebrates Halloween in the same way as other European cities with many Halloween fancy dress parties featuring ghouls, ghosts, witches and zombies.

Kids in Spain also do the "trick or treat," which is called "Truco o Trato" in Spanish. See our Halloween word list further down the page for more useful Halloween phrases in Spanish You can buy Halloween outfits and costumes in Barcelona at shops like Clair's Barcelona and at Barcelona fancy dress shops. For carving Jack o'Lanterns out of pumpkins see this handy step-by-step pumpkin carving picture guide and read about the origins of halloween pumpkins

The day after Halloween in Spain is a public holiday Todos los Santos - All Saints and there will be many halloween parties in the days up to Halloween and of course on Halloween night at all top Barcelona clubs including Pacha BarcelonaCDLC club, Opium Mar club, Shoko club and more parties at Sala Apolo clubto name just a few. Some hotels also have Halloween dinner. To find all the top clubs in town visit our Barcelona clubs guide.  

For children there is usually a Halloween festival on Sunday 30th November at Poble Espanyol Spanish village on Montjuic hill in Barcelona featuring many childrens' Halloween activities from 11 am to 5 pm.

A Mexican tradition during Halloween in Barcelona is called the "Ruta de Altares" - the Alter Route - which came to Barcelona a few years ago. Around 30 altars are usually created in dedication to the memory of the departed for the Mexican "El Día de Muertos" (Day of the Dead) The alters all have different themes and dedications and can be found in bars, associations, shops and galleries around Barcelona. More information and maps about Barcelona 2016 Ruta de Altares

Barcelona fancy dress & party costume shops

The day after Halloween is 1st November and this is a public holiday in Spain called Todos los Santos or "Tots Sants" in the Catalan language which means "All Saints." On 1st November you can enjoy the Catalan tradition called La Castanyada and on All Saints' Day it is a tradition is to attend church services in honour of Catholic saints and martyrs and also to visit family graves to place flowers, wreaths and candles. Barcelona has nine cemeteries - which are Montjuïc cemetery (the biggest,) Poblenou, Sant Andreu, Horta (the smallest,) Sant Gervasi, Sarrià, Les Corts, Sants and Collserola. Barcelona cemeteries have extended opening times on Tot Sants 1/11 from 08.00 until 18.00. They will also have extra flower stalls at the gates and there will be special shuttle bus services between Plaça d'Espanya and Montjuïc Cemetary, which is the biggest graveyard in Barcelona.

At Montjuic cemetery the Barcelona Cemeteries association (CBSA) usually invites the public to an open day event to visit the Montjuic cemetery museum and its collection of funeral carriages.  At Poblenou cemetery there also usually a partial performance of the play Don Juan Tenorio by Jose Zorrilla in the week before halloween. The Don Juan Tenorio play features scenes with tombs and ghosts and is traditionally performed in Spanish theatres on All Saints Day

Origins of Halloween

Although the modern Halloween is based on traditions from the USA, the origins of Halloween can actually be found in Celtic Britain. The Celts lived in the British Isles during ancient times and worshipped the gods of nature. There were two important festivals in the Celtic calendar, Beltane and Samhain. Samhain was pronounced something like "Sow-win," which might be origin for the modern word Halloween. Beltane celebrated the beginning of summer and Samhain the start of winter, and was the first day of the year on the Celtic calendar. The festival of Samhain started on October 31st and finished on November 1st. The Celts were frightened of winter because the days were short and cold, and the nights were very long - they associated winter with death and evil spirits. The Celts believed that on the night of October 31st the spirits of the dead rose from the tombs and they made big fires to scare the ghosts away. They also wore scary costumes and played games on October 31st to bring good luck for the year. Nuts and apples were eaten and were considered lucky foods.  The colours of Halloween are also of Celtic origin. Black was the colour of winter and long nights. Orange was the colour of the harvest. The black cat is another symbol of Halloween because the Celts believed that a black cat had special powers.

Useful Spanish Halloween words

Halloween - Noche de Brujas

Pumpkin - La calabaza
Carved pumpkins - calabazas talladas
Farol - lamp
Vampires - vampiros
Ghosts - fantasmas
Witches - brujas
Zombies - zombies
Skeletons - esqueletos
Mummy - momie
Dress up - disfrazarse
Trick or Treat - truco o trato
Sweets and treats - dulces y golosinas

Origins of halloween pumpkins
Wikipedia page Halloween
Halloween make-up techniques

Happy Halloween in Barcelona!

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