Posted: Oct 28, 2016
Hallowe’en is the night that, traditionally, ghouls and ghosts come out to play. Now more an excuse to party, customs vary across the globe. Join us for a magical and mystical, whistle-stop tour of phantomic fantasy fun with the world’s 20 spookiest places.
The population take this festival seriously and it’s a holiday on a par with Christmas. There’s a lot less emphasis on trick and treats, and a whole lot more on getting together for an annual reunion. But it’s all done with an injection of fun with picnics, music and board games. If you want to get away from it all, the country comprises more than 7,000 islands and there are usually a handful for sale. Prices range from around £300,000 to tens of millions of pounds.
19. Northern Ireland, Londonderry
Despite Galway’s bid for glory, the world’s biggest Hallowe’en party is held in Londonderry, Northern Ireland. If you want to move your bones to this neck of the woods, you can get a three-bedroom semi for under £200,000. This city was the UK’s City of Culture in 2013 and it has plenty to recommend it, not least its intact city wall, pierced by seven gates..
The Celts claim to have invented Hallowe’en. They say it has its roots in the ancient pagan festival of Samhain. This marked the end of the growing season and was the time the souls popped back home to do a bit of haunting before returning to the underworld. Galway is seeking to hold the country’s biggest Hallowe’en festival. Rural properties in need of renovation here can be found for as little as £50,000.
17. South Africa, Cape Town
The Castle of Good Hope in Cape Town is allegedly South Africa’s most haunted building. It dates back to the 17th century and various ghosts are associated with it. There’s the tall gentleman and the Lady in Grey. Buy a new-build central apartment in colourful Cape Town for just over £100,000.
16. Germany, Darmstadt
The commercialism has been imported from America, but Germany did have Hallowe’en traditions of its own. Germans love their carved pumpkins and family celebrations. But if you like to dance, head to Burg Frankenstein, a ruined fortress in Darmstadt. The Hallowe’en celebrations eclipse those anywhere else in the country. And there’s even a monster-free zone for the more terrified. Darmstadt has the usual German housing problem – high demand and not much availability. Expect to pay around £3,364 per square metre for a central flat.
15. France, the Loire Valley
The Chateau de Brissac, in the Loire Valley boasts the ghost of the Green Lady, whose moans echo through the rooms in the early hours. If you’ve often dreamed of your own French chateau, why not wake up and smell the vineyards. They can be had for as little at £400,000.
14. Japan, Tokyo
The appeal of Hallowe’en in the Land of the Rising Sun is that it is highly commercialised and it involves costumes. Sellers and buyers both love it. Zombies and fake blood are particularly popular. The housing market in Japan saw a boost this year as interest rates turned negative, but the momentum is slowing. Even so, new apartments in Tokyo cost an average of £6,500 per square metre.
13. Poland, Warsaw
The Poles are taking to Hallowe’en as the global village spreads ever wider, even though it hasn’t been part of their culture. They do get a public holiday on November 1 and 2 to celebrate All Saints’ Day and All Souls’ Day. Demand for property in Warsaw is up and there are no restrictions on foreigners buying flats. New apartments cost an average of £3,500 a square metre (about one third of Parisian prices)..
The laid-back Aussies haven’t traditionally roused themselves on Hallowe’en, but the ghoulish antics are becoming more popular. Shops are now full of orange and black, scary masks, pumpkins and spiders’ webs. If you want to save cash on housing, head to small-town Australia. Buronga on the Murray River in New South Wales offers the most affordable suburbs in the country, with an average price of £60,000.
11. Sweden, Jamtland County
The country’s most haunted house is said to be the Old Vicarage in Borgvattnett, a small village in Jamtland County, northern Sweden. It was built in 1876 and people through the years have complained of strange happenings, unexplained sounds and moving objects. The building is now a restaurant and guest house. If you dare spend the whole night there you’ll get a certificate. The housing shortage is so severe, even one-bed flats in Stockholm can cost £600,000.
10. Belgium, Flanders
The Belgians aren’t used to Hallowe’en celebrations although the American influence is making inroads. However, their Three Kings festival on January 6 has similar rituals. On this day, children dress as mini monarchs and go door to door singing a song and asking for treats. Fans of Flanders will find flats cost from about £100,000.
9. Hong Kong
Hong Kongers love a party and Hallowe’en has been embraced in recent years as a great excuse to do just that. There are organised events all over the city and into the New Territories and islands. Ocean Park and Hong Kong Disneyland offer the whole haunted caboodle, but the Tsim Sha Tsui shopping district and Lan Kwai Fong bar area hold their own brand of themed street parties. Property prices have been falling here and are expected to fall further after a slight rebound in the second quarter. A Discovery Bay studio apartment will set you back £350,000.
8. US, Washington
America is the spiritual home of modern Hallowe’en. From candy ghouls to masks, they really go for it in a big way. Maybe it’s not surprising to discover that the White House is said to be haunted by several ghosts. Even Winston Churchill reckoned he’d seen President Lincoln standing by his fireplace. The property market has slowed in Washington DC this year, as government jobs come under budget pressure. Three-bedroom family homes start at about £200,000.
7. Mexico, Mexico City
Also known as the Night of the Witches in Mexico, Hallowe’en is usually overshadowed by the Day of the Dead which follows it. Children go house to house trick or treating on Hallowe’en, but the Dia de los Muertos is a much bigger occasion. Noisy and colourful, crowds buy sugar skulls and candy coffins. Mexico City’s property market has been growing strongly but, away from the capital, coastal condos cost from £150,000.
6. Italy, Poveglia
The tiny island of Poveglia in the Venice Lagoon looks charming, but some locals won’t go near it. They say they hear voices. For a less frightening time in Italy, you might choose to tour the catacombs in Rome or join in the Night of the Witches in Corinaldo, in the Marche area. Village houses in this part of eastern Italy cost from £20,000.
5. Canada, Calgary
The grand Banff Springs Hotel attracts the well-heeled from all over the world. They might not realise it, but it is rumoured to be the most haunted in the country. You could kick back in your own condo in nearby Calgary for around £150,000..
4. Austria, Retz
The Austrians call the period between October 30 and November 2 Seleenwoche. On November 1 they process with the lanterns to the graveyard to lead the dead to the world beyond. Bells are rung to release the souls. Retz, on the Czech border, holds a pumpkin festival around this time. You could buy an apartment here from £30,000.
3. Czech Republic, Pilsen
The Czechs push the festivities back to November 2, traditionally All Souls’ Day in the Christian calendar. They celebrate this day by dressing family graves with flowers and candles. Hallowe’en itself is a creeping incomer, but is becoming more popular. A one-bedroom flat in Pilsen – famous for its lager – will set you back £75,000.
2. Spain, Barcelona
Hallowe’en is a three day festival in Spain. It starts with the Noite de Calacus, or Night of the Pumpkins. Barcelona goes big on gourd-fearing shenanigans, with children trick or treating and costume parties galore. The Catalan city is popular for all sorts of reasons and property prices are rising. A central one-bed flat will cost around £140,000.
1. Romania, Transylvania
The Romanians don’t celebrate Hallowe’en as enthusiastically as St Andrew’s Eve, a month later. This Night of the Vampires inspires similar beliefs that the spirits are wandering the earth, particularly favouring crossroads and abandoned houses. Garlic is the secret weapon. It’s eaten with the evening meal and cloves are placed alongside windows and doors to deter spooks. If you want to party on, chalets in Transylvania cost from £50,000. Castles might be a little more, but there’s one on the market currently for £315,000.