A pile of pumpkins at the local vegetable vendor? Plastic eyeballs and brains centrally displayed in stationery windows? Children gleefully running around dressed in an assortment of costumes? It’s that time of year again.
Halloween has been quite a recent addition to Maltese culture. Coinciding with the Catholic celebrations, All Saints’ Day and All Souls’ Day, meant that the pagan celebrations of Halloween were put to the side by the majority, who saw it as a holiday that threatened religious traditions and that celebrated the occult.
However, the last five years have seen a rapid change in perception about the holiday, with most of the population now looking forward to Halloween celebrations every year. Children particularly love it, with activities such as trick-or-treating and costume parties becoming a staple for the month of October. While it is still on the way to becoming as established a holiday as Christmas or Carnival, it is undeniable that a Halloween culture is thriving in Malta. This can be easily seen by the myriad of Halloween-themed events occurring over the next two weeks. If you happen to be visiting Malta around this time, and you are into gory things, or into being spooked, why not consider the following events?
Dates: 14th October – 13th November
Location: Manoel Island, Gzira
Paranormal Circus promises to combine ‘horror’, ‘sexy’, and ‘crazy’ in their 3-hour horror show. This is the Italian company’s second-time running in Malta, back after last year’s incredible success. The tickets start from 10 euros which makes it quite an affordable horror event to go to. If you get too scared or queasy, you can always run out and calm your nerves by sipping (or chugging) a drink at one of the great bars in the vicinity.
Popeye Haunted Village Night Event (for Adults)
Dates: 28/10/2016 – 1/11/2016
Location: Popeye Village
Popeye’s Village is known as one of the most popular tourist attractions in Malta. Instead of the usual tourists with backpacks, these two weeks will be attracting an assorted crowd of blood-covered zombies and eerie-looking ghosts.
Halloween for adults in Popeye Village boasts to be the ‘biggest and scariest Halloween event of the year’. The tickets are slightly pricey at €18, which makes it a more expensive activity than the others suggested here. However, this year’s theme, The Dark Ages, looks promising. Keeping in mind that this is an era known for the widespread famine, plague, torture devices, and witchcraft, it is probably worth the few extra euros to explore such an intriguing theme for Halloween.
Popeye Haunted Village for Kids
Dates: 28/10 2016 – 4/11/2016
Location: Popeye Village
If you have kids and prefer a toned down version of Halloween that can be enjoyed by your youngsters, drop by Popeye Village during the day. The children get to have a fantastic time participating in activities such as haunted mini golf, Halloween treasure hunts, and visiting Olivia’s haunted house. There are also a number of activities that the adults can enjoy alongside the children, such as Spooky Boogie.
The prices are cheaper than the adult version, with children between 3-12 years of age paying €8.50 and adults paying €10.50, making it an affordable family event. If you are not impressed by the Halloween theme, at least you would have visited one of the most popular tourist attractions on the island.
Date: 30th October
If you are not into the horror aspects of Halloween but you would still like to experience the Halloween atmosphere, make your way to the north of Malta to partake in the Pumpkin Feast in the village of Manikata. The Pumpkin Feast brings together a wide range of delectable food items containing pumpkin that range from baked pumpkin pasta and vegetarian curried pumpkin rice, to pumpkin jam filled doughnuts. You also get the opportunity to buy pumpkins and fresh vegetables grown by local farmers. If you have children, they can be kept entertained with trick or treat treasure hunts and bouncy castles while you indulge in pumpkin goodness. There is also a free park-and-ride system, which is fantastic if you are considering renting a car and driving there. Manikata is also close to the picturesque beaches, Golden Bay and Għajn Tuffieħa, so this event can be combined with a walk along the coastline where you can absorb the scenic views.
Halloween in Malta? Definitely Yay.