Halloween in Poland

We bet that you’ve been told by your friends that there is no such thing as Halloween in Poland. Well, partly they are right, as you won’t find any day called that in the calendar. But we have our own traditions connected to this date. At the same time, more and more Poles (especially young ones) celebrate Halloween. So the big question is – what can you expect from Halloween in Poland?

Traditional Halloween fun

If you live in a big city, you may be invited to a Halloween party in a club or a Polish friend’s home. What should you do? Of course, have fun! Nearly all clubs in Poland have a Halloween Party on October 31st. Choose a costume which is going to be scary and eye-catching, then prepare yourself for a lot of frightening fun!
On your way to a party you may see dressed up children playing trick or treat. Even though not every door opens, they are not discouraged. Children knock on the door of each family just in order to get some sweets or scare their friends. The next day at school they will swagger in and boast about how many sweets they got and who had the best costume (and of course, we, as mature and responsible people, who dress as vampires just because we can, will be talking about the bloody shots which made the night (un)forgettable, while at the same time humming Thriller by Michael Jackson and thinking about that the werewolf/were-she-wolf that was rather good company).

What happens in Poland instead of Halloween

The next two days, the 1st and 2nd of November, are national holidays (unfortunately not because people need to have time to recover from the previous days’ Halloween party hangover). The 1st and 2nd of November are very important days – All Saints’ Day and All Souls’ Day. In Poland most people travel to the places where their relatives were buried. They meet at the graves, pray for those who are gone and talk about good things they did. It is a serious celebration having nothing in common with a happy Halloween. It is time to be with the closest people and think of those who are no longer among us. If you’ve never thought of going to the cemetery at night (we hope you didn’t!) you should consider it on All Saints’ Day. It is absolutely breathtaking – thousands of candles, flowers and a magical (not scary at all) atmosphere.

As you may notice, there is quite a contrast between Halloween as you might know it and the Polish ‘Halloween’, but most Poles do not associate celebrating Halloween with betraying their ancestors (although some Catholics see celebrating Halloween as something inappropriate and don’t do it). Old Christian Tradition coexists with American’s Halloween and even though they are contrasting, it seems almost impossible that one of them would defeat the other. If you are about to experience this period in Poland for the first time you should prepare for a new cultural experience. We hope you will find it, maybe not the most fun, but at least interesting.

If you are a big fan of Halloween you may enjoy another Polish festivity – Andrzejki (St. Andrews Day) which happens every year only a few weeks after Halloween.

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