Halloween in Amsterdam
October 31st is the day that children in Ireland, Great Britain, Canada and the United States dress up in frightening costumes. After dark, they ring the doorbell at neighbouring houses, frighten the residents and expect a handful of candy in return. For adults, there are many costume parties during Halloween.
In recent years, the event gained popularity in the Netherlands. There’s plenty of opportunities to grumble and creep in Amsterdam nowadays.
Riding your bike all dressed up in your Halloween costume can be a bit tricky though. Instead, book a Staxi to be transported in style.
Halloween 2019: what to do in Amsterdam?
There are numerous frightening events in the city. We’ve made a small selection of Halloween activities in Amsterdam:
- Halloween Party in the Westergasfabriek: the theme is “A Japanese Horror Story” and this party will take place on October 26th.
- Halloween Glow Boat Party X Carnival Of The Dead Amsterdam: first a boat trip and then a party in Panama, on October 25th.
- The Amsterdam Dungeon is dedicated to Halloween throughout the month. Extra-long opening hours on October 26th and 31st!
- Helloween Bal Masque in Paradiso with a live performance by The HelloWeeners, on October 31st.
- Various venues organise horror movie nights. For example, on October 31st you can be scared silly by spine-chilling silent films, with live improvised piano music provided by film concert pianist Yvo Verschoor in the Geelvinck Pianola Museum.
Walibi again organises the famous Walibi Fright Nights this year. For almost the entire month of October, the amusement park will be transformed into a kind of real-life horror film. Among many other things, you can visit four different haunted houses.
New this year in Walibi are the Spooky Days. Slightly less scary and also during the daytime so ideal for the younger visitor.
Visit the iAmsterdam website for an overview of all Halloween events in Amsterdam!
Transportation during Halloween
What would be a suitable vehicle to transport you when you’ve dressed up beautifully (or horribly) for Halloween? A carriage? A steam train? A flying broomstick?
Seating yourself in the tram in your elaborate Halloween attire, carrying a giant pumpkin is not very practical. Instead, let Staxi transport you comfortably from door to door. If you dare…
Of course, during Halloween, you’ll also get a reassuring fixed price for your pre-booked Staxi.
The history of Halloween
Halloween, also called Hallow-e’en or All Hallows’ Eve, is the English name for All Saints’ Eve. The event takes place on October 31st, the evening before All Saints’ Eve (November 1st, the Celtic New Year or Samhain).
In its original form, Halloween was mainly celebrated by British and Irish Celts. During this night, the souls of the dead are believed to return to the land of the living. The spirits try to take possession of a living body to get through the next year. They are attracted by the food that people lay down in front of their doors. To ward off the evil spirits, the Celts wore masks.
In the United States, the feast gained popularity in the second half of the 19th century. Large groups of Irish and Scots immigrated to the US during this period. At this time, the hollowed-out pumpkin appeared with its typical scary face.
Worldwide this has probably become the most famous representation of Halloween. Read more on this page about the interesting legend behind the jack-o’-lantern or watch the short movie below about the history of Halloween.
The legend of the jack-o’ lantern
A jack-o’ lantern (sometimes spelt as Jack O’Lantern) is a typical Halloween decoration: a hollowed-out pumpkin, in which a scary face is cut. This pumpkin serves as a lantern by inserting a candle or lamp.
There are many stories about the origin of the lantern. One of the best known is the story of the Irish blacksmith Jack.
One evening, Jack met the devil who wanted to take him to hell. Jack used a trick to lure the devil into a tree and then scratched a sign of the cross in the trunk of the tree so that the devil could no longer leave the tree. Only after the devil had promised Jack that he would never have to go to hell, did Jack remove the sign of the cross and release the devil.
When Jack died years later, he was not allowed to go to heaven because of his lousy life. But the devil did not let him into hell, because of the promise he had made. Since then, Jack’s soul has been wandering the earth.
The devil did throw Jack a lump of glowing coal when he sent him away from the gates of hell. Jack stuck the piece in a tuber he was eating. Now he had a lantern to light his way. According to this legend, the jack-o’ lantern got its name from the blacksmith in this story.