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 October 31 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 word “Halloween” only really become popular in the late 19th century.
For those in a treat (rather than trick) mood, here are a few wickedly wonderful Halloween-themed trips to a few spellbinding destinations.
Witches Market, Bolivia
Boasting brews and potions that exact revenge on a cheating spouse, or aid in seeking an abundance of wealth, the Witches Market in La Paz, Bolivia is a treasure trove of the weird, the ritualistic, and the macabre. Selling their wares are the yatiri, the last witch doctors in South America.
How to get there: Visit the Witches Market in La Paz on Contiki’s new 13-day Bella Bolivia adventure. Visit www.contiki.com.
The Colosseum, Rome
Considered a must-see attraction for visitors to Italy at any time of the year, most forget that the history of the Colosseum includes a lust for blood, gore and revenge. Thousands died in the arena after its 80 AD opening, and the ghosts of slain gladiators are said to haunt the Colosseum. Many visitors have reported hearing screaming, cheering, crying and moaning, feeling cold spots and gentle pushing, and seeing ghostly figures sitting in the stands. How to get there: Visit the Colosseum and all its ghoulish splendour on Luxury Gold’s 12-day Ultimate Italy journey. Visit www.luxurygoldvacations.com.
Time Warp in Transylvania
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. But there’s more to Transylvania than just Dracula.
The region is famous for its horsemen with a history dating back to the time of Genghis Khan. The 1241 Mongol invasion resulted in the deaths of tens of thousands of Wallachians and Moldavians. .
How to get there: Busabout offers a 7-day Halloween Trek that takes travellers through the Carpathian Mountains and Transylvania. Visit www.busabout.com