Do you think that the same pronunciation of Halloween and Hallo Wien (the original name of Vienna) is coincidental? The Viennese have a strange and very morbid relationship with death. Songs are dedicated to death; monuments are built to death and, in the end, a Viennese just want to be "a beautiful corpse", like the Austrian Kaiser Charles VI said at his deathbed. One famous Viennese singer sang “Death, it must be a Viennese”. This morose connection is also noticeable during the All Saints’ Day, but in particular on Halloween.
The holiday that is celebrated on the 31st of October has probably existed for over two millennia. There are different theories about its origin, but the most popular one is that it can be traced to the Celts in the British Isles. It used to be a pagan celebration of the end of the summer and harvest festival. After the conversion of Western Europe to Christianity, this celebration became Halloween, the holiday that marks the beginning of the three-day observance of Allhallowtide (the time in the liturgical year for remembering the dead). It is said that on the night between October 31st and November 1st, the gates between the worlds of the living and the deceased are wide open and that in this time a ghost can easily get stranded in the world of the living.
Halloween is the day of the year when you are allowed to get a little bit spooky in the city, without getting side-eyes. You can dress as you are pleased and roam around the city in funny, creepy, or scary costumes, with the masks or fake blood on the face. Halloween makes the city a little bit crazy, especially at night. When riding the metro, you can ride along with zombies, mummies, vampires, witches, horror nurses and all other strange creatures. Let’s find out how you can spend your time around Halloween in Vienna.
In the period around Halloween, the visitors have a unique opportunity to take part in the nightly, guided walks of one of the largest cemeteries in the world - Vienna Zentralfriedhof (Central Cemetery). They can enjoy the almost romantic ambience of the flickering red candles in the moonlight, and get to know more interesting facts about the Vienna Central Cemetery, details from the everyday life of gravediggers and hear the scary stories about the funeral arrangements of alleged phantoms. All with the right amount of respect and humour.
The oldest amusement park in the world Vienna’s Prater celebrates Halloween with the massive parade of the undead. Here, participants have an opportunity to limp through the Prater with spooky creatures. Besides the parade different Halloween themed shows await you, such as costume competition, planetarium show etc. The parade ends with the firework and burning the Calafati, nine-meter-high statue of a Chinese, a landmark of Prater amusement park.
Every year since 2015, on the eve before Halloween, the real life The Walking Dead event takes place. Hundreds of runners dressed up like zombies, vampires, witches and other scary characters occupy the streets of the city and take part in the Vienna Ghost Run. The participants run together through the Prater Park over a distance of about five kilometres. After the run, there is, of course, an after-show party, which takes place in the Liliputbahn tent at the main station of Liliputbahn, famous light railway circling Prater.
When you finish with all the activities from above, but you still have an undying wish to express your inner monster, you can finish the Halloween with one of the numerous parties in the city. Almost every bar, disco and even restaurant organizes a special program for Halloween, so it is good to know which locations to visit. There is an entire article dedicated to the best and the most traditional Halloween parties, so be sure to check it when you are all set and ready to party.
In conclusion, in order to have the time of your life in Vienna during the Halloween, you should dress spooky, put on your running shoes and dive into the night when the gates of the underworld open. And say: "Hallo Wien, I enjoy Halloween".
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