Fancy dress, trick or treating, welcoming dead souls back to earth!?
As the nation gears up for a night of devilish fun, the experts at Expedia have collated some of the more unusual traditions from around the world. They’ve also scouted out the top spooky stays for those hoping to get a fright close to home.
Food for the soul
What would your first meal be if you were returning from the dead? Chances are it wouldn’t be bread and water, however if you’re Austrian that’s exactly what you have to look forward to. Every year Austrians lay these basics out, along with a lit lamp, to welcome dead souls back to earth. Not sure that would be enough to tempt us back.
Hide the knives
On the scariest night of the year, Germans follow the wise practise of hiding all their knives. It is believed that the spirits and souls of loved ones return at this time, and hiding the cutlery stops the risk of stabbing an invisible entity by accident. Odd, seeing as the only perk of being a ghost was supposed to be immortality.
The hot seat
Carrying on the theme of souls returning, it is custom in the Czech Republic to place a chair by the fireplace for each deceased family members’ spirit. There are even some legends that say it is possible to communicate with them on this night. ‘Chairful’ what you wish for.
Take a bite
It’s believed that Halloween originated in Ireland, so what better than to try a traditional Irish Halloween game? ‘Swinging Apple’ requires players to try and take a bite as the apple is suspended from a doorframe or tree. The player with the best bite gets to keep the apple, and there are also rumours that it used to be a way of choosing future spouses – now that is scary.
El Dia De Los Muertos
El Dia De Los Muertos (or Day Of The Dead) may have gained global attention in recent years but it’s been going in some form or other for up to 3,000 years. Now a Mexican national holiday it retains a serious meaning for those who remember their dead and provide food offerings for them. For the rest of us though, ‘skull candy’ make-up is the latest in-trend Halloween outfit - zombies are so 2015.
The Langham Hotel, London
Our first stop on a terrifying tour of the UK is London. Built in 1865 and known as the first 'Grand Hotel' in Europe, The Langham Hotel is reportedly frequented by many ghosts. One such ghost is that of a doctor, rumoured to have killed himself after murdering his bride while they honeymooned in the hotel. Other guests have reported sightings of a man in military attire standing by a window on the fourth floor - this is said to be the ghost of a German Prince who jumped out of a window before the start of the First World War.
Ettington Park Hotel, Stratford-upon-Avon
Immerse yourself in a real-life haunted film set at the neo-gothic mansion of Ettington Park Hotel, near the historic Stratford-upon-Avon. Used as the location for 1963 film 'The Haunting', the hotel has many ghost stories of its own. A servant girl called Mary who died after a fall at the property has been seen many times around the house, while two children who drowned in the Stour River in 1800 haunt the hallways.
The Schooner Hotel, Northumberland
This 17th century coaching inn is not for the faint-hearted. The Poltergeist Society has named it ‘The Most Haunted Hotel in Great Britain’ not once, but twice; so don’t expect to get much sleep. There have been over 3,000 reported spooky sightings over the last few years alone and over 60 individual spirits identified at the property.
For more spooky stays around the world, check out Expedia’s interactive map of Spooky Stays.
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