Although most people around the world view Halloween as an American created and marketed holiday, having experienced this occasion in more countries than I can count on two hands, I now realize that it has become an internationally adopted holiday for kids and kids at heart to embrace and have fun. For those adventurous celebrants of Halloween, why not travel to one of these unique locales or at least let their festivities inspire your ghoulishly good time at home.
The birthplace of this glorious celebration of all things wicked and the originator of Trick or Treating has changed the world forever in the eyes of eager costumed children looking forward to receiving sweet treats on October 31st.
To experience Halloween to it’s fullest, Westport House, one of Ireland’s grandest historical homes opens it’s gates on their multi day Halloween Fest, Oct. 25th – 31st, where the whole family can partake in ghost tours of the 18th century manor house’s transformation into a Haunted House, Jack O Lantern carving, and a Spooky Train Tour. Costumes welcome for all.
On Halloween in Miami, Lincoln Road is where the magic happens. My first year experiencing this hedonistic, tropical version of the fall costume festival really stuck in my mind for years to come. Maybe it was my being a child of the 80’s or perhaps just the pure shock factor, but the group of semi-nude men dressed as Monchichi’s, the popular furry monkey dolls, complete with exposed chests and butts was just too fabulous.
Although that Halloween sighting was years ago, you can still experience some of the best adult costumes the world over (my 2013 pick…the Miley Cyrus VMA’s “Twerking” outfit) at the Lincoln Road parade on Oct. 31st after sunset. Be sure to make your reservations days in advance for a table at one of the outdoor cafes towards the center of the Mall (pedestrian street)…. my favorites, Books & Books Café for an international variety, Spris for great pizza, pasta and Italian salads or if you’re just drinking…Segafredo is the place to chill. The premium for the table is well worth the price.
Heavily influenced by the US and UK celebrations of Halloween, the expat community, locals and tourists gather for a spin on the traditional western Halloween celebration…Spooktacular Brunches. Since Friday brunches are all the rage at Dubai’s top resorts, and this year’s Halloween falls on a Friday, everything will be Halloween themed.
My brunch of choice for this occasion is the Friday Spooktacular Brunch at Madinat Jumeirah’s Al Qasr. Truly the grandest Dubai brunch of all, it’s a full day feast of the town’s top rated Spanish, Thai, French and International culinary experiences, mixed in with the traditional brunch fare and of course including a free flowing bar of bubbly, wine and non-alcoholic beverages, as well as the mojito and pina colada stations. Topping off the Spooktacular event are the costume contests for all age ranges, with prizing of generous proportions of brunch and other resort credits for the adults and Wild Wadi water park entries for the children… the only question is to bring the kids or not.
After the all day affair of brunch, if you’re looking to keep the party going, one of my favorite Dubai nightspots, 360, is right next door, at the end of the pier Jumeirah Beach Hotel. Their Halloween Exclusive night event is the place to catch the most spectacular sunset in town and celebrate a little longer with festive cocktails and a chic crowd.
El Dia De Los Muertos “the day of the dead” has been a celebration for Mexican families since ancient times, honoring both the children and their dead ancestors, in a lesson of the continuity of life. From Oct. 31st – Nov. 2nd, the families place altars in their homes that they adorn with candles, flowers, images of the deceased and candies and the family members typically gather to enjoy meals, sweets and drinks together while sharing stories of those passed relatives. The ever present decorated skull can be seen in the homes and everywhere around town during this period.
Xcaret Park in Riviera Maya honors The Day of the Dead in their Festival of Life and Death Traditions, Oct. 30th – Nov. 2nd, with a celebration including Halal Pixan (food for the souls), local cuisine and theater and dance performances, in a Mayan interpretation of this UNESCO Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity event. This unique cultural heritage event is included with your entry to Xcaret on any of these days.