It’s Spooky Season! 20 Weird Halloween Traditions That Are More Fun Than Jack-O’-Lanterns

Weird Halloween Traditions From Around The World

Spooky season is upon us again! All Hallows’ Eve is around the corner and most of us have something weird, creepy and awesome planned for Halloween. While some of us may be a little too old for trick-or-treating, there are several other interesting and weird Halloween traditions that we can enjoy and spook ourselves in the most fun way possible.

If you are getting tired of dressing up as a zombie and going to stupid parties or hanging out around not-so-creepy graveyards on Halloween, then there are some bizarre Halloween traditions from around the world that can lift your spirit of Halloween.

Weird Halloween traditions from the United States of America

When October 31 rolls in, most of the United States gets painted in the spooky Halloween colours of orange and black (well, not literally). From creepy Halloween costumes and trick-or-treating to Halloween decorations and Jack-O’-Lanterns – Halloween creates the perfect spooky fall vibes.

American Halloween customs and traditions are undoubtedly the best for the simplest reason that you get to eat tons of chocolates and candies and share some with your friends. 

Related: The Spiritual Significance of Halloween

We all know about the most common halloween traditions celebrated in North America, such as –

  • Carving Jack-O’-Lanterns
  • Dressing up in scary costumes
  • Trick-or-Treating
  • Watching horror movies
  • Visiting haunted places & graveyards
  • Telling ghost stories
  • Lighting bonfires
  • Eating candy apples

But there are some really weird Halloween traditions that are celebrated in different towns across the United States that are really interesting. Let’s take a look at the most bizarre Halloween traditions in USA –

1. Howl-o-ween (Park City, Utah)

Weird Halloween Traditions

Love dogs? Then this is one of the most unique halloween traditions that you will surely die for. This special Halloween celebration is dedicated to our four-legged furry friends where you can dress up your canine friend as your favorite character and you can wear a matching costume as well for this one-of-a-kind celebration.

Listed as one of the best Halloween traditions in the USA by Travel and Leisure magazine, Howl-O-Ween! on Historic Main Street is the go-to celebration for pet lovers, kids and dogs in costume.

You can take part in the Howl-O-Ween parade, go trick-or-treating, take part in contests, enjoy gourmet treats or simply hang out with your furry four-legged friend and enjoy the celebrations on All Hallows’ Eve. This is one of the best family Halloween customs in the USA.

Related: Are Ghosts Real? Here’s What Science Has To Say

2. Witches’ Magical Circle (Salem, Massachusetts) 

Weird Halloween Traditions

Salem is popular for witches and Halloween. No wonder the Witches’ Magical Circle event attracts witches and visitors from around the world for some spooky and fun Halloween rituals. But don’t get scared. The event is open for anyone who respects the dead, has an open heart and loves Halloween.

During this magical and sacred Halloween ritual, witches and Halloween enthusiasts walk down a witch trail lit by candles for a unique experience. Inside the Witches’ Magical Circle, witches from different countries join together to mourn and respect the spirits of the dead. 

3. All Souls Procession (Tucson, Arizona)

Weird Halloween Traditions

The All Souls Procession is a celebration where thousands of people remember and honor the deceased through art and art therapy. Started by Susan Kay Johnson, an artist from Tucson, in 1990 to grieve the passing of her father, the artistic ritual has grown dramatically from a small parade to a spectacular procession that should be experienced.

Inspired by the Day of the Dead (Dia de Muertos) from Mexico, Tucson’s All Souls Procession involves hundreds of thousands of people who honour their deceased loved ones through an amalgamation of art, theatre and parade.

The event includes artists and performers, colourful masks, stilt walkers, gigantic puppets, detailed floats and art installations. Celebrated on the first Sunday of November each year, it is a creative celebration of remembering.

Related: 18 Weird Superstitions You Practice Without Even Knowing

4. Zombie Crawl (Denver, Colorado)

Weird Halloween Traditions

Finally, the zombies are here! But relax, they are just humans dressed as zombies. Welcome to the annual Zombie Crawl on the streets of LoDo district in Denver, usually held on October 29.

Considered as the largest zombie festival in the United States, it attracts thousands of people who dress up as the walking undead. The participants take part in the 5K Organ Trail where they crawl, walk or run. Hundreds of creepy costumed zombies roam the streets visiting numerous pubs, bars and nightclubs for their free complimentary Halloween shots.

The decade-old, zombie-themed, fun annual pub hopping ritual is quickly becoming one of the most popular Halloween traditions in the United States, especially for their Halloween after-crawl parties.

5. Fantasy Fest (Key West, Florida) 

Weird Halloween Traditions

Fantasy Fest is an adults-only annual Halloween celebration that lasts for 10 days. Starting way back in 1979, the event was an effort by locals to bring in more tourists to the island. Since then, Fantasy Fest has gained in popularity and has become the go-to destination for revellers looking for some carefree fun during Halloween.

For 10 days in October, thousands of fun-loving people head to Key West bringing their creativity, weirdest costumes and a heart filled with Halloween excitement.

During this period, the streets of this island are littered with lively people in colourful costumes, parades, live bands, themed parties, body painting and much more. Special events are also hosted at separate locations with talented artists, local cuisine, live bands, parades, fundraisers, costume competitions etc.

Related: Sun and Sabbats: The 8 Most Important Wiccan Holidays

6. Mischief Night (New Jersey)

Weird Halloween Traditions

If you love pranking people regardless of your age, then we have one of the weirdest Halloween traditions for you. Mischief Night, also known as Cabbage Night, Goosey Night and Devil’s Night, is celebrated on the night before Halloween (October 30) where kids, teens, adults and old people take part in pranks, vandalism, jokes or fun parties.

This pre-Halloween custom is celebrated widely in different parts of the world like the United States, Canada, United Kingdom and Ireland. However, in the USA the tradition is most popular in New Jersey, along with Connecticut, Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, Delaware, New Orleans and New York State.

Introduced to Americans by Scottish and Irish immigrants, Mischief Night is all about good-natured mischief and pranks, like stealing lawn ornaments or porch furniture and throwing eggs or toilet paper at houses and playing ding-dong ditch. This Halloween tradition is a celebration of harmless vandalism and foolishness.

7. Spotting Bats

Weird Halloween Traditions

Thanks to Bram Stoker’s Dracula, bats have gained a creepy reputation as shape-shifting vampires. However, bats have a long association with Halloween traditions as people used to believe in a number of superstitions about bats since the Medieval era.

During the celebration of Samhain, large bonfires were lit by Celts and this attracted several insects which, in turn, attracted bats that fed on these insects. However, spotting bats was seen as an ominous sign as bats were considered an harbinger of death. Eventually spotting bats became a part of Halloween traditions in the US and in other countries.

In fact, it is believed that if a bat flies into your home on Halloween then it indicates that your house is haunted. Moreover, it is believed that witches used the blood of bats to cook their potions and concoctions. No wonder bats and Halloween make the perfect combination.

Related: 12 Best Scary Movies To Watch This Halloween

But wait, there are more traditional Halloween customs from different parts of the globe that you should know about.

Crazy Halloween traditions around the world

Now let us check out some of the weirdest Halloween traditions from around the world.

8. Halloween traditions from Ireland – Barmbrack 

Weird Halloween Traditions

Most of the modern American Halloween traditions were born in Ireland, where Samhain was celebrated to mark the end of summer and harvest season. Unfortunately, this season was also associated with several deaths. Hence, to keep evil spirits away and to welcome the souls of deceased loved ones on Samhain, Irish folks lit bonfires, dressed up in weird costumes and masks, and baked a bread named Barmbrack.

It is a unique type of fruitcake that had muslin-wrapped treats hidden inside which could make future predictions about the person eating the cake. When children approached different houses and knocked on doors to sing prayers for the spirits of the dead, the special bread was offered to them.

Barmbrack is still popular across Ireland and is commonly baked on Halloween as it is one of the strangest Irish Halloween traditions.

9. Halloween traditions from the United Kingdom- Staring Into a Mirror

Weird Halloween Traditions

One of the weirdest Halloween traditions around the world, for sure.

In the UK, a creepy tradition is followed by young individuals during Halloween – they stand in front of a mirror in a dark room exactly at midnight and stare at their own reflection.

It is believed that when you gaze into the mirror long enough, the face of your future spouse will appear around your shoulder. However, if you are meant to die in the near future before you get married, then you will see a skeleton over your shoulder in your reflection in the mirror.

Well, that will surely ruin your iPhone mirror selfie. Similar to the Bloody Mary game popular in the USA, here you get to see your future husband or wife peering over your shoulder, unless the grim reaper appears first. 

Related: 100+ Two Sentence Horror Stories That’ll Freak You Out

10. Halloween traditions from Europe – Carving Turnips

Weird Halloween Traditions

Carving pumpkins and making Jack-o-Lanterns is one of the most popular Halloween traditions in the US. But it is strictly not an American tradition. Originating in Scotland, the UK and Ireland, Europeans typically carve turnips and beets as pumpkins are rarely available in that region. However, the tradition is more or less the same – carving creepy faces on these vegetables in the most creative way.

It is believed that this fascinating tradition is based on the legend of Stingy Jack. He trapped the devil repeatedly and let him free on one condition – the devil would never put Jack in hell. Sadly, when Jack died he was not sent to heaven and his soul was condemned to wander the mortal realm as a spirit forever.

So the devil offered him a lantern made out of a turnip containing a lump of burning coal which he could use to light his way. This is why locals carve scary faces on turnips to ward off evil spirits.

This European tradition eventually became popular in North America when Irish immigrants used pumpkins to carve Jack-o-Lanterns as they were cheaper than turnips in the US. However, it originally started with turnips & beets. Children used to carry these carved out vegetables to different houses in the neighbourhood and knocked on their doors to ask for money.

These turnip lanterns were also placed outside the houses, near the gates, to protect the residents from evil spirits that roamed on Halloween night. In different European countries, this tradition is still followed even though pumpkins have become rather popular now.

11. Halloween traditions from Austria – Seleenwoche

Weird Halloween Traditions

In Austria, Seleenwoche is celebrated from October 30 to November 8 every year to respect the dead. Unlike most Halloween traditions in other parts of the world where the dead are celebrated for only one day, Austrians remember the dead by lighting candles for spirits of deceased loved ones for an entire week.

They also leave bread and water outside or on the dining table overnight to offer them as refreshment to ghostly visitors. They also hold mass at graves and decorate them with flowers & lanterns.

Austrians believe that during this period, cosmic energies tend to be stronger which helps to bridge the gap between the realms of the dead and living. This is why they leave food and water and keep the lights on for the dead during Seleenwoche.

Related: Phantasmata – Scary Story

12. Halloween traditions from Germany – Hiding Knives

Weird Halloween Traditions

Halloween is celebrated on All Saints Day in Germany and lasts from October 31 to November 8. Germans believe that spirits of the dead visit the world of the living during this time. So they have perhaps the most bizarre Halloween traditions – hiding all the knives and other sharp objects they have in the home before going to bed.

Why? Simply to protect the spirits from hurting themselves or the living. In case any spirit of deceased family members holds a grudge against you and wants to hurt you, hiding the knives can actually be a great idea. Undoubtedly, this is one of the weirdest Halloween traditions. 

13. Halloween traditions from Czech Republic – Talking To The Dead

Weird Halloween Traditions

Halloween, known as Dušicky, is celebrated in Czech Republic as the Commemoration of All the Departed, when numerous people offer trinkets and flowers to the graves of deceased loved ones. However, they have one of the most heart-touching and surprising Halloween customs.

They take out and place empty chairs around fires or in their living room to talk to their departed loved ones who are believed to visit them during this time. One empty chair is kept for each family member that has passed away.

They sit calmly and try to listen to any messages, blessings or warning the spirits may have for them. Here the celebration is more reflective, respectful and quieter than our typical trick or treat celebrations.

Related: 16 Signs A House Is Truly Haunted And What To Do About It

14. Halloween traditions from Italy – Fave Dei Morti (Beans Of The Dead)

Weird Halloween Traditions

Italians being Italians celebrate Halloween with delicious food. The Fave Dei Morti, translated as Beans of the Dead, are sumptuous cookies shaped like fava beans that are only creepy in its name.

Eaten during the Day of the Dead in Italy, this Halloween tradition is based on an ancient belief that spirits of the dead are present inside fava beans, which close the gap between the realms of the living and the dead.

It is believed that eating these beans of the dead can help Italians communicate with spirits and ghosts. This oval-shaped cookie is similar to a macaron and is baked with egg, sugar, almond flour, vanilla, butter, cinnamon and lemon zest. The Fave Dei Morti is accompanied by a feast for deceased loved ones.

More spooky Halloween traditions 

Here are some more creepy and weird Halloween traditions from around the world that you should know about this spooky season – 

15. Teng Chieh in China

In China, Teng Chieh or the Feast of the Hungry Ghosts is celebrated during Halloween where food is offered before photographs of deceased relatives so they can “fatten up” for the coming winter months.

16. Apple Peeling in Scotland

In Scotland, people peel apples with one long strip of the skin during Halloween. Then the apple skins are thrown over their shoulders in a way arranged into letters to spell the name of the person’s future husband or wife.

17. Candles and Black Cats in Belgium

Although these people light candles to respect departed loved ones, they are especially  suspicious of black cats on Halloween as they believe it can bring serious bad luck when you encounter one.

Weird Halloween Traditions

Related: What Keeps Me Alive At Night – Scary Story

18. Making of Queimada in Spain

During the 3-day Halloween celebration in Spain, a traditional drink called Queimada is mixed using wine, herbs, pumpkin, coffee and citrus peel. While making the drink, a spell is chanted to ward off evil spirits. This is one of the most interesting Spanish Halloween traditions.

19. Food for the Dead in Ecuador

Dia de los Difuntos or Day of the Deceased is celebrated on November 2 in Ecuador. Grieving families visit the graves of deceased family members, carrying plates of freshly cooked food for the souls of the dead. A plate containing their favourite food is kept beside the grave for the deceased loved one once the festivities are over. 

20. Haunted Scavenger Hunt in Barcelona

On October 31st, people from across the world participate in a wild scavenger hunt through Barcelona’s haunted and mysterious places to uncover secrets about Barcelona’s past and amazing prizes using clues, maps and costumes. 

Weird Halloween Traditions

Well, there are many more creepy and bizarre Halloween traditions that are performed in different parts of the world on All Hallows’ Eve that are as strange, weird and spooky. Regardless, Halloween and Samhain are celebrated with the same love, happiness, energy and positive spirit to respect the dead and appreciate the true value of life. And also to see some scary ghosts. Boo!

Related: 13 Real Life Scary Stories Reddit Users Share That Will Keep You Up All Night

Are there any other weird Halloween traditions that we missed out? Feel free to add to the list by commenting below. 

Happy Halloween folks! Stay spooky.

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