Pour out a sacrificial apple cider for the American expats in France missing out on the Halloween pumpkins, costumes, and candy.
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 yet 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.
Frenchly has a few ideas for the Americans (and French) looking to get spooked in Paris and beyond.
Disneyland Paris, 77777 Marne-la-Vallée
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 holds a “Soirée Halloween” on October 31st, filled with themed activities and shows. The park stays in Halloween-mode until November 5th.
Parc Asterix, 60128 Plailly
North of Paris, Parc Asterix, the second-largest theme park in France, is transformed to a haunted village for “Peur sur le Parc.” Activities include make-up workshops, three haunted houses, and magic shows suitable for the whole family. On the 28th through 31st of October, the park stays open until 1am for “nocturnes,” hosting street theater and other attractions.
Château de Thoiry, Rue du Pavillon de Montreuil, 78770 Thoiry
An interactive “Murder Party” (re: murder mystery party) held at Château of Thoiry, October 27th through 31st. Teams of guests solve a murder mystery by interrogating the ghosts of long-dead castle-dwellers haunting the property.
Reservations are required, and guests must be older than 14 years old.
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. Reserve your tickets here.
Château de la Barben, 2376 Route du Château, 13330 La Barben
In the southern region of Provence, the Château de la Barben stays open until midnight for “Les Nuits d’Halloween.” For four days and nights, the castle gardens become a Halloween fair. Guests (and ghosts) enjoy fortune telling, make-up workshops, Halloween-themed games, vin chaud and chocolat chaud. Reservation is required.
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 spooky film screenings, face-painting stalls, and costume competitions.
No posted parade location. 87000 Limoges
Since 1996, Limoges has staged an annual Halloween parade. 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 for visitors.
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 hold 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.
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.