Though it's not a recognized holiday in Italy, Halloween, or All Saints' Eve, is growing in popularity in the country. While the main holidays are still All Saints' Day on Nov. 1, an Italian holiday, and All Souls' Day on Nov. 2, the custom of celebrating Halloween on Oct. 31 is starting to take hold in many Italian cities.
Halloween costumes and decorations are on display in shop windows and can be found in many stores. Children's costume parties are mainly held during the day. In the early evening, kids in costume may head out for trick-or-treating, which in Italian is dolcetto-scherzetto. In the centro storico, or historic center of some cities and towns, stores will hand out candy to trick-or-treaters. In the evening many nightclubs, bars, and restaurants advertise special costume parties for adults. Look for posters if you're in an Italian city on Halloween.
Wherever you go, don't expect the degree of celebration that is carried out in the U.S. Halloween is not part of traditional Italian culture, and some Italians object to the event being celebrated in their country.
In addition to these ghoulish activities, you can create your own Halloween itinerary by visiting a couple of these spooky places in Italy.
Italy's First Halloween Event
The Halloween Celebration at the Devil's Bridge in Borgo a Mozzano, a few miles north of Lucca, has been going on each year since 1993 and calls itself Italy's first Halloween celebration and also the biggest.
There's a passage of terror; an interactive game called La Notte Nera, or black night, and horror movies showing all night. There's a "Zoombie" Festival and vampires too. Events are usually also held a day or so before or after Halloween, depending on the day on which Halloween falls. The website is scary enough and will entice you to visit Italy for Halloween.
Italian Capital of Halloween
The medieval walled town of Corinaldo, northeast of Ancona in central Italy's Le Marche region, calls itself the Italian Capital of Halloween. During the last week of October at la festa di Halloween, or festa delle Streghe (witches), the town features entertainment, spooky attractions, and taverns serving food and drink, culminating on Halloween night with a show of music, fire, and lights all around the town.
Halloween in Triora, City of Witches
An inland village in northwestern Italy's Liguria region that's famous for its 16th-century witch trials during the Inquisition, Triora holds a yearly Halloween festival with events lasting all day and concerts often continuing past midnight.
Halloween at Italian Amusement Parks
Italian amusement parks have special weekend events in October culminating on Oct. 31. Gardaland near Lake Garda holds a Halloween party every weekend from the first weekend in October through October 6 through the first few days of November, with a spirits' parade, music, and fireworks. Nearby, Movieland has "Horror Ween" every weekend in October and is open until midnight on Halloween night with DJ music continuing until the wee hours. Also on the schedule of frightening events is a Zombie Walk.
Halloween Dinners in Restaurants
Some restaurants offer special dinners with a Halloween theme. If you're in Italy, check local restaurants for posters advertising these events or their websites for information.
Horror Movies in Italian Movie Theaters
Many Italian movie theaters show horror films and American Halloween movies, probably with Italian subtitles, on Oct. 31.
Mummies, Skeletons, and Spooky Places in Italy
Italy has several chilling displays of mummies and skeletons in catacombs, churches, and crypts, and this is not just for Halloween. These mummies have been naturally preserved, and the displays can be a macabre sight and are not recommended for young children.