Halloween Traditions In Spain
Alright Stokies, if you’re fortunate enough to be in Barçelona for this year’s Halloween festivities, you’ve probably got a few questions: where should I go? What should I do? Well read on friends…we’ve got all the details on secret party spots, bomb cuisine, and local Spanish traditions to make your Halloween wickedly unforgettable.
Beyond the typical Halloween rites of passage that can be enjoyed here in Barça (read: seductively suggestive costumes and insane jungle juiced parties) there are many cultural events happening locally that will be sure to uniquely enrich your Halloween experience beyond just partying (although there will be a shitload of that too.)
In Spain, Halloween is actually a three day long celebration (yes there is actually a guaranteed day off to work through the hangover). The festivities kick off with El Día de las Brujas, or the Day of the Witches, on October 31st. This day is associated with all things spooky and supernatural, like lost souls, haunted history, black magic, and of course witches!
On Halloween night you will find people all over Barçelona in “fancy dress” or costumes (see our guide about where to get yours!) bar hopping along Carrer de Joaquín Costa in the Raval, raging at a themed party in one of the city’s premier night clubs like Razzmatazz or Opium, or just meandering about the streets with one euro cans of beer in half-assed costumed hands, taking it all in.
This is the night to enjoy traditional Halloween debauchery, particularly in Barçelona’s haunted Gothic Quarter, where Stoke invites you to join us for our sangria and beer fueled Halloween Ghost Hunt! It is guaranteed to be a wild and unparalleled experience that will have you questioning why clubbing like a basic bitch ever sounded like a good idea in the first place.
The celebration continues on November 1st with Día de Todos Los Santos, or All Saint’s Day. This is a traditional holiday observed throughout Spain as an opportunity to honor the deceased. People gather in cemeteries with friends and family to light candles and place tokens of affection such as ornate flowers wreaths on the graves of loved ones. (Don’t worry, this doesn’t start until after dark so you have plenty of time to sleep in.)
We recommend visiting one of Barçelona’s cemeteries, like Poblenou, Les Corts, or Montjuïc, all of which have extended hours. Many of the cemeteries will have special tours, classic music concerts, and memorial masses you can take in. Or you can you can just post up with the squad and join in party that will be happening all around you as the Spanish locals are known to revel in this macabre day with some serious livelihood.
You can also take a break from all that life and death by enjoying the Catalan autumn tradition of La Castanyada, or “chestnut time.” Vendors around the city will offer warm snacks like castanyes (roasted chestnuts), moniatos (sweet potatoes), panellets (cakes), and muscatel (sweet wine.)
For a more immersive local experience rooted in mythic tradition, you can take a two hour bus ride north to the Catalonian village of Sant Feliu Sassera where there is a two day themed festival to commemorate 23 women who were suspected of witchcraft and sentenced to death there during the Spanish Inquisition. The festival is called Feria de las Brujas in Spanish or Fira de las Bruixes in Catalan. It features everything from a creepy parade through the quaint village to special cuisine offerings and performance art pieces.
And if you’re still in the party spirit (which we certainly hope so,) the festivities culminate on November 2nd with Día de Los Muertos, or Day of the Dead. The Spanish honor this traditional Mexican holiday with Ruta de Altares, or Route of the Altars. This relatively new tradition in Barçelona consists of specially designed altars set up in about 20 different shops, restaurants, bars, and galleries all across the city, each featuring a different theme and dedication. Check out rutadealtsres.org for maps and info.
Also keep your eyes peeled for Pan de Muerto, or literally bread of death (it won’t kill you though, promise!) This tasty treat is a special type of white brioche bread seasoned with sugar, orange, and sesame. It can only be found publically one day a year so be sure to get your fix while you can!
We hope you indulge like a local this Halloween in Barça (or at least survive…meaning pace yourself because it’s going to be a wild one.)