Halloween. Most people consider it just another commercialized holiday that has spread from America. In fact, it has a long history with its roots likely in Ireland.
Halloween is slowly catching on in Belgium and the rest of Europe. During my research, I was quite surprised at the surge in Halloween events and parties in comparison to last year in Gent. You will find that in addition to theatre performances, cooking workshops and Halloween parties, some neighbourhoods also welcome trick-or-treaters. Should you be ready with a bucket of sweets or treats? The best way to know is to knock on your neighbour’s door and ask. If you haven’t met your neighbours yet this is a great opportunity to do so! Ask what their plans are, or if the local children get together. Ask some of the parents from your school if they’d like to come over to carve pumpkins or decorate cookies after school one day.
Many of the following events are aimed at Dutch-speakers, but that does not mean you should shy away … besides, at some events language won’t really matter and, in fact, a couple are for English speakers or international families. We will keep adding to this list and updating it as we hear about more events on offer, so check back often.
There are even more events, aimed at young adults and adults alike, including a Halloween Film Night.
In this workshop, organized by Kookanje, participants prepare spooky sandwiches, soup, and other delicacies. After cooking, there’s a festive table for enjoying the treats together. This cooking workshop is for children from 3 years. Parents can join them. Visit the Facebook event for more info.
Halloween in the Belfry
Ghent’s belfry opens its creaking gates for a chilling Halloween program! Participants first have the opportunity to get their faces painted, after which they can take their places in the creepy dark tent in the Lakenhalle, where they listen to a sad episode in the history of the belfry. This is followed by a search through the belfry, but watch out because in the dark rooms of the belfry there may be surprises lurking in any corner! There’s a reward for children who are able to overcome their fears and finish the search.
For more info, see the Facebook event.
Poppentheather – Heksensoep
Puppet theater Poppentheather Magie presents Heksensoep (Witches Soup) for two shows every October.
Mask-making workshops at Herberg Macharius
Cardboard, paper, paint and fabric – let your kids’ imagination run wild at these free mask-making workshops in October.
More info on the Facebook event page.
And if you want a good laugh and to confuse your Dutch-speaking friends who think English is too difficult, then gather them around on Halloween evening and read them this story.
Oh, and if you live in a neighbourhood that does celebrate Halloween but you don’t want to get caught up in it? Turn off the porch light, close your curtains and read a book by flashlight under your covers … or head to your local pub for a drink.