HALLOWEEN has grown in popularity in Spain in recent years much like across the rest of Europe, with the country adopting American style celebrations such as ‘trick or treating’ and fancy dress parties.  

Traditionally however, it is the day after Halloween – All Saints Day – that holds special significance across Spain.

November 1st is a public holiday in Spain and is still the day when families gather together to visit the graves of their ancestors and loved ones to lay flowers. 

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All Saints Day – Wikimedia Creative Commons – Olea

So how do the festivities differ regionally? 

Andalucia

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Tosantos market stall – Wikimedia Commons – Jose Lagarda

On October 31 Cádiz celebrates Tosantos, a festival dedicated to satire and comedy when visitors flock to the market to see merchants transforming their produce into satirical displays. 

There are also exciting street parades and traditional treats to try like ‘Huesos de Santo’ or Saint’s Bones which are marzipan rolls filled with custard.

Head to Malaga to feast your eyes on beautiful floral displays that are featured in the English Cemetery and the Botanical Garden. 

The port also hosts the Pechá Zombies Party, a halloween fair with plenty of fun activities to get involved in. Many decorate their homes with horrifying displays and decorations which are sure to delight onlookers.

Galicia

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Pumpkin from Galician Night of the Pumpkins – Flickr Creative Commons – José Antonio Gil Martínez

Northwestern Galicia is the home of Spanish halloween, perhaps due to its celtic ancestry as halloween originated from the pagan festival of Samhain. Known as the Night of the Pumpkins, Halloween is traditionally celebrated by wearing costumes, carving pumpkins, lighting bonfires and performing rituals.

For those who want to be protected from evil, take a sip of queimada. This popular concoction is made with orujo liqueur, sugar, lemon peel, and coffee beans. Traditionally made in a pumpkin it is then set on fire whilst the ‘esconxuro spell’ is recited and served quickly.

Catalunya

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Chestnut Stall – Flickr Creative Commons – Fotomovimiento

In the northeastern region, Catalans mark All Saint’s Day and the days preceding it with the Castanyada or Chestnut festival. 

This involves sweet chestnut stalls popping up along where visitors can sample many seasonal delicacies.

In the capital Barcelona, where there are many students, Halloween becomes a huge party. Bars and nightclubs throughout the city hold costume events with spooky themes.

But if you’re after a really haunting experience head to the north eastern town of Sant Feliu Sasserra. Every year they hold the Witch festival to commemorate and re-enact the witch trials where women were killed throughout Catalunya in the 17th century.

Madrid

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Killer Zombie March – Flickr Creative Commons – Roberto Romero Pérez

Spain’s capital has a buzzy and party-filled Halloween scene guaranteed to provide an exciting night out. 

Take part in a Halloween pub crawl, and dance the night away in full costume. Or for the thrill seekers, take a trip to Parque Warner who offer a Halloween horror night experience with special zones where actors can jump out at you and exclusive attractions. 

In the university town of Alcalá de Henares there is a killer zombie march where you can transform into one of the undead. 

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