When an Italian thinks of a mask-wearing festival in Italy, the first thing that comes to mind is Carnevale. When an Italian thinks of fall celebrations, All Saints Day and All Souls Day may be what come to mind as well. There are already many well-known celebrations that take place in Italy and are deeply rooted in tradition. Recently, however, the candy-giving, trick-or-treating holiday, Halloween, which has great commercial success in the U.S., has been rising in popularity amongst younger Italian crowds.
Although Halloween has its spiritually significant origins within European culture, the more commercial and candy-crunching aspect seems to be more popular in modern day western society.
In Italy, spirits are celebrated within All Soul's Day, making Halloween the time for pranks, candy and goofy behavior instead. Decorations and Halloween candy are now rising in popularity within Italy since the influence of American media brought the concept over to Italy with full force around the 1990s. Although modern Halloween carries no sort of significant meaning for those in Italy, it is still a holiday that involves doing something all Italians love: celebrating.
Halloween can be celebrated in a variety of ways in Italy. Such as in the U.S., bobbing for apples or costume shopping is a sure way to excite children around the holiday. More spooky events such as all-night horror movie screenings or visiting old castles and crypts are reserved for the adult crowd who prefer a scare with their Halloween. Special dinners, amusement park events and movie theater showings also cater to the Halloween-loving crowd. Some Italian families may also have big meals on this day in honor of their deceased relatives, although more spiritual activities are often reserved for All Soul's Day. There are also skeleton and mummy displays made within old crypts and churches that can be viewed by those brave enough to go searching for them, although these remains are displayed for more than just Halloween!
So even though Halloween is merely a newer tradition finding its way into the younger generations in Italy, it is already making a big impact on what is celebrated. While Italy is a country rich in fun festivals and elaborate celebrations already taking place throughout the year, there is surely plenty of space and plenty of time to welcome Halloween into Italian culture as well. Happy Halloween (Buon Halloween)!