Halloween in Amsterdam

Photo © Amsterdam Spook

Halloween isn't widespread in the Netherlands, but each year more stores stock their shelves with costumes and other festive merchandise, and more Halloween-themed events pop up in Amsterdam and elsewhere. Expats in particular keep the imported tradition alive, and there are even reports of trick-or-treaters in some pockets of the country. (Dutch children have the native holiday of St. Martin's Day as recompense.) Anyone who feels the need to don a Dracula cape and rub elbows with zombies can head to one of these 2011 Halloween events.

More events will be added as confirmed. Know of any other Halloween festivities in or near Amsterdam? Please email me with the details!

2011 Halloween Parties in Amsterdam
Note: All parties take place on Saturday, October 29, 2011 unless otherwise noted.

  • Halloween Freak Show Costume Party & Festival
    Several Halloween enthusiasts have joined forces for the 2011 edition of the Amsterdam Halloween Festival. The festival centerpiece, the 11th annual costume party, takes place this year at the spacious Odeon Theater, which accommodates up to a thousand revelers; the costume party, with its Victorian-era freak show theme, promises an extensive line-up of acts and DJs. Other activities include four horror film premieres courtesy of Mr. Horror's Halloween Horror Show; a zombie walk for charity; special kid's activities and more. See the festival web site for advance ticket information.
  • Amsterdam Halloween
    Not one, but three dance parties take over the WesterGasfabriek on October 29: ticket holders have access to each of the three different line-ups at the WesterUnie, Westerliefde and Transformatorhuis venues. Tickets are available at the Amsterdam Halloween web site. By way of a pre-party, a Zombiewalk departs from the Rokin metro station (under construction) and stalks across town to the event terrain. Participants should arrive at the station at 7:30 p.m. to prepare for the 8:30 p.m. departure; the Zombiewalk itself is free, but please RSVP at Zombiewalk on Facebook.
  • Prefer a smaller-scale celebration? Expat and theme bars often host their own under-the-radar Halloween parties. For example, dress up and head out to an urban island on which most Amsterdammers -- nevermind visitors -- never set foot for Halloween at the '50s-themed Cruise Inn; British blues and Swedish rockabilly will be the soundtrack to this music-driven costume party.

    Still need a Halloween costume? These Amsterdam addresses have an impressive variety in stock:

    • Louis Wittenburg
      Raadhuisstraat 16. +31 (0)20 624 68 86. Open Mon 11 a.m. - 6 p.m., Tues - Fri 10 a.m. - 6 p.m., Sat 10 a.m. - 5 p.m.
      Halloween and party supply specialist, established in Amsterdam since 1901.
    • Alternatief Kostuum
      Klaprozenweg 61 A (Amsterdam North). +31 (0)20 668 4377. Open Mon & Wed - Fri 12 - 5 p.m. (Wed till 8 p.m.; Mon returns only).
      Costume rentals; voted the "best of Amsterdam" by Dutch newspaper Het Parool (2007).