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We celebrate Halloween on the night of October 31st, and according to belief, the spirits of the dead return from the afterlife with one sole purpose: to inhabit the bodies of the living. That's why we don varied masks to disguise ourselves and confuse spirits and supernatural beings. Many believe it to be an American whim, but Halloween actually emerged in the 1850s, based on ancient Celtic traditions. Truly enough, it was then popularised worldwide by Americans, primarily thanks to the horror movie series of the same name. Nowadays, the essence lies more in the madness, the party, and the costumes, so let's see what you can get up to if you spend the spooky season in Budapest!
On 31 October, you can laugh all the ghosts in the face at the Halloween Special Dark Jokes Comedy Night. The international team of Hot Paprika Comedy is ensuring dark jokes and uncomfortable chuckles to the downtown bar Hoff House to kickstart your Halloween. The show is free, but donations are welcome (recommended donation: HUF 2000 in cash). More details here.
Lurk around in the Castle District after dark, unravelling its hidden corners and bloody history. The Vampire Tour (organised several times between 28 October and 1 November) takes you back to the 15th and 17th centuries with the help of a professional storyteller in period costume. His lantern will guide you along silent streets and sinister corners, and he will tell legends and lore. You will learn about two mad figures: Vlad Dracula, 'the impaler' and Elizabeth Báthory, 'the blood countess' and hear about cases of vampirism in old Hungary. While listening to all the creepy but capturing stories, don't miss to look around: the walk comes with magical views from the top of the hill. Get tickets here.
Extending opening hours and themed beers await at the party district's beloved craft beer bar and bottle shop, Hopaholic between 27 October and 5 November. You can clink your glasses to Halloween with pumpkin ales, Ghosts (in The Laboratory), and Midnight Specials. Keep the beer flights coming, offering a selection of four different beers, and if you get hungry between two rounds, order a pizza or a burger. More details here.
On 28 October, you can bring your artfully carved pumpkins to the iconic landmark Heroes' Square where hundreds of Halloween pumpkins are traditionally lit. Beginning at 7 pm, anyone can place their jack-o’-lanterns around the semi-circular colonnade of historic Hungarian heroes. Participants are also encouraged to bring a few cartons, cans or boxes of non-perishable food – festival organisers will deliver these edible donations to children in need.
On 29 October, dark shadows, luminous wings, lovely skeletons, and masked classmates will fill the Turbina Cultural Centre for a Halloween-styled family rave. Family, as in you can only enter with children (or at least one child). The house and techno party will feature moderate volumes this time, and you can also borrow noise-blocking headphones. In the Big Hall, Bodoo, then Metha will shake you up, while upstairs DP Morgan calms the spirits next to the creative table and food stall. In the Small Hall, a spooky-free kids' corner awaits. Get tickets here.