Do we need to pass around some grown up apple cider from Normandy for the American expats in France missing out on the Halloween pumpkins, costumes, and candy? Go for it (but it might not be totally necessary.) Frenchly has a few ideas for the Americans (and French) looking to get creeped out in Paris and beyond this year.
Just be forewarned: Halloween remains controversial in France. Some view the holiday as an encroachment of American culture, while others see it as a great excuse to dress up and party. Although traditions like trick-or-treating haven’t really taken hold, and Halloween parties in bars and clubs have more people in chambray than costume, its still possible to tap into the Halloween spirit.
Disneyland Paris, 77777 Marne-la-Vallée
For those of you who are totally desperate, Disneyland Paris is fully decked-out with pumpkins, ghosts and other Halloween-y decorations throughout the month of October. Geared towards kids, the Disney ambiance offers probably the closest thing to the American Halloween vibe that you’ll find in France. The theme park hosts several special Fiendish festivals from October 29-31st, filled with villains and ghouls. The park stays in Halloween-mode until November 6th.
Parc Asterix, 60128 Plailly
North of Paris, Parc Asterix, the second-largest theme park in France will offer up “Peur sur le Parc,” or, “Fear in the Park.” Activities include a creepy “buffet of horrors,” encounters with terrifying monsters and unsettling illusions. On the 28th through 31st of October, the park stays open until 1am for “nocturnes,” hosting street theater, shows, ghouls and other attractions.
Château de Brézé, 2 Rue du Château, 49260 Brézé
Ghosts, vampires, witches, and other monsters lurk in this spectacular haunted castle in the Loire Valley. For scaredy-cats seeking PG thrills, there’s a Halloween treasure hunt in the castle’s subterranean tunnels and “doomsday bunker” are sure to thrill. Reserve your tickets here (note that their website isn’t yet updated for 2022 but it says they are still celebrating. Please reach out to check for hours and schedules.)
Fort du Cognelot, 52600 Chalindrey
Home to 16th-century witch hunts and a fort known as “Devil’s Point”, the northeastern town of Chalindrey traditionally celebrates Halloween with a weekend-long witch festival. Festivities begin on Saturday night with a haunting Celtic dance, followed throughout the weekend by film screenings, face-painting stalls, and costume competitions.
Since 1996, Limoges has staged an annual Halloween parade or centre ville party. Ghosts, goblins, and ghouls carry candlelit pumpkins through the streets, attracting around 30,000 visitors each year. Local restaurants, cafes, and bars join the festivities, with costume parties partout and bonbons for little visitors. There’s an underground creepy tour, a haunted house and more.
1 Avenue du Colonel Henri Rol-Tanguy, 75014 Paris
While not particularly Halloween-y, you’ll get chills walking through the Catacombs. This hair-raising tourist site (open Tuesday-Sunday) holds the skeletons of some 6 million Parisians. Packed with millions of bones excavated from overcrowded cemeteries during the 18th century, the series of winding tunnels measures over 2 kilometers long, beware of skulls and finger bones!
Paris, Lyon, or anywhere with a cemetery
While Halloween is a fun American import, Toussaint’s is a traditional holiday on which the French solemnly mourn the dead. Mark the end of Halloween-season in a culturally authentic way by taking a stroll through the flower-decorated graves of the Père Lachaise, Montmartre, or Montparnasse cemeteries in Paris or the Loyasse cemetery in Lyon.