Cluj, Romania- It's just a step to the left, then step to the right... if you want to get down to the roots of Halloween and all things Transylvanian then read on to learn more about this festival.
So what is Halloween? The origins of All Hallows' Eve can be traced back to Samhain, an ancient Celtic pagan festival. In modern times it is celebrated on the 31st of October and marks the time in the year to remember the dead, including saints (the hallowed) and martyrs.
The costume parties, jack-o-lanterns and trick or treating that we think of when you mention the world 'Halloween' only really became popular in the late 19th century.
Brides of Dracula
Dressing up as a ghost, ghoul or fantastical creature is all part of the fun and Dracula, with his Brides has long been a Halloween costume favourite. So what better place to spend Halloween than in Dracula's Transylvania with like-minded Halloween enthusiasts from all over the world? There is a spooky, mysterious atmosphere in this part of Eastern Europe. Follow Dracula's trail past castles, fortified churches, mountain chalets and quaint local villages and then join Busabout for the ultimate fancy dress Halloween party in a Transylvanian mountain retreat.
Tales of the supernatural had been circulating in Romanian folklore for centuries and the legend of Vlad the Impaler is said to be the inspiration for Irish writer Bram Stoker's spooky novel.
The spooky Carpathian Mountains
Join Busabout for their Halloween Trek on October 27 when you get to enjoy the best party for Halloween lovers. Be thrilled by a drive through the Carpathian mountains, a visit to Vlad the Impaler's Bran castle, time to soak up the medieval atmosphere of Sighisoara, Dracula's birthplace, party like a Transylvanian with your travel mates, spend a spook night or two in the mountain village of Brasov and end your trip through the Racatau Valley and Budapest.
The Halloween party trek sets off east through the mighty Hungarian Pusta. The region is famous for its horsemen with a history dating back to the time of Genghis Khan. During the drive through the stunning Carpathian Mountains, we'll set the tone for the rest of our trip with a chilling horror movie. On arrival to Cluj we will check out the cultural capital of Transylvania, grab a bite to eat and get acquainted with some local customs.
Salt mines of Turda
Then it's off to the fascinating Turda salt mine which was a bustling community in the past, but has now been expertly converted to one of Transylvania's most famous sights. Afterwards we'll drive the short distance to Sibiu one of the region's most beautiful towns for a walking tour before heading to our overnight stop in the small village of Sibiel.
Get your bloodthirsty on
We'll make a late start to the day and head east to Brasov, the main centre of Transylvania. Its' here you will be introduced to Vlad the Impaler and his castle. Vlad was the original Dracula and is notorious for his bloodthirsty love of torture and preferred method of execution in the 15th Century. Bran Castle, the impressive fortress, protected Transylvania from its many invaders. The castle is very well preserved and a unique opportunity to learn the special tactics used by the locals to overcome their enemies. The rest of the day we'll explore Brasov and pick up last minute costumes for the fancy dress party. Brasov also produces some outstanding wine.
The best Halloween jol ever!
Sighisoara is the birthplace of Dracula and a beautifully preserved Unesco listed medieval fortified city with its famous citadel. You'll have the time to tour the town and get some lunch before our final drive to our Halloween party. It's a masked fancy dress party with a barbeque dinner and bonfire, but it's the mountain location that makes this the best Halloween party you have ever experienced.
After breakfast you'll head back to Budapest, driving across the Pusta and recollecting the events of this fantastic trip through Transylvania. On arrival into Budapest we'll head out for a final supper.
Join Busabout for their annual Halloween Trek priced from R10 630 per person sharing for seven days in Hungary and Romania. This includes your Busabout crew, transport, six nights' accommodation with breakfast daily, one extra dinner, the exclusive Halloween party and lots of incredible sightseeing and activities. This tour departs October 27, 2016.
Adapted from a press release for IOL
* Visit www.busabout.com or speak to the team on (011) 280 8455. Follow Busabout on social media using the #freespirited hashtag - you'll find them on Facebook and Twitter (@BusaboutSA).