Here’s our Halloween trail of where to take the kids in Abruzzo for the 31st of October, but also the pick of the better-known events for adults who’d like to experience Abruzzo’s traditional events that don’t centre around the family on the night of ‘Ogniassanti’ (All Souls’ Day).
Halloween in its modern sense is a spooky fun import to Abruzzo, it has grown in popularity with each year over the last decade. Costumes are in the shops to titillate kids to dress up in and smooth American-style Jack O’Lantern pumpkins that are easier to carve are now sold in the supermarkets. Halloween is seen as a commercial addition to the calendar rather than a replacement for Abruzzo’s own meaningful celebrations which you can read about here.
Halloween in Abruzzo 2023
Sunday 29th October
If you are seeking a lavish Halloween experience on a heritage farm, a visit to Fattoria Valle Magica could be just what you need to give the kids an activity-filled spooky day. The owners of the farm are an Irish and Dutch family who raise traditional Abruzzo Black pigs amongst other rare breeds of animals for curious children to hear all about. Expect fancy dress and carved pumpkin head competitions, spooky stories, trick or treating, bobbing doughnuts, artisan gift stands, a lunch of porchetta or if you prefer a barbecue of some of their acclaimed flavoursome meats, and of course taking a short hike with donkeys. Doors open at 11.00, meeting the Witch and her raven. Italian, English, and Dutch are spoken. Pre-booking Essential. Buy tickets online here
La Notte Delle Lumère n.6, in Santo Stefano di Sessanio, is an evening event starting at 17.00 that weaves you through the medieval streets, accompanied by donkeys, music, and tales that step back in time to hear and experience how the traditional ‘New Year’, the Capetièmpe was celebrated by the farming community in its celebrations between 31st October and San Martino day. Hosts Gira e Rigira (read our review of donkey hiking with them). Italian and English are spoken. Pre-booking essential.
Schiavi di Abruzzo (Chieti) is hosting its traditional, “Le casette degli Angeli” (The houses of the Angels). Children are encouraged to build with their Mothers a miniature house using recycled materials that can house a small votive lamp dedicated to a recently deceased loved one. Once blessed, the houses are used to decorate the central staircase of the town by the pine forest and can be viewed till the end of the month. Schiavi was once an ancient Slavic feudal town whose funeral folklore offers a rich array of beliefs and customs related to death. The souls of the dead are surrounded by a fervent and perpetual feeling of piety, as well as a belief that holds the living and the dead in a frank and continuous “correspondence of loving senses”. From Tuesday 31st October 2023.
Wednesday 1st November
Spoltore (PE) commemorates and remembers through its traditional ‘La Tavola dei Morti’, (The Table of the Dead) event on Wednesday1st November. This devotional celebration used to be a popular tradition right across Southern Italy until the 1950s. It was used to honour the dead who would return ‘home’ for a moment on the night of All Saints. With candles you walk around the streets of Spoltore, stopping to hear stories and see the procession of the Dead Friars accompanied by the Knights errant, with the story of the ‘three living and three dead’. At the entrance to the Borgo Case Troiano there will be the devotional altar for the souls in purgatory, and then the visit of the homes with the tables set for dinner accompanied by the ‘Cantor of All Saints’ and the sound of the bagpipes.
Outside each house, there will be symbols, such as the bag of wheat, the overturned broom, the basin, and the stick, and each time the reasons for those presences which have their roots in the Abruzzo tradition will be discovered.
To close the event you are offered the grain of the dead’, boiled wheat with walnuts, pomegranate and cooked must, boiled beans, roasted chickpeas, pumpkin, and potatoes with red wine.
Tuesday 31st October – Wednesday 1st November
Serramoncesca, PE, L’Aneme de Le Morte (Celebrations on the 1st November on the eve of ‘Il Giorno dei Morti’, Day of the Dead). A fun, very atmospheric celebration that takes Abruzzesi rites and customs with a hint of Halloween for a very traditional celebration ready for ‘i Morti’ on the 2nd of November that remembers deceased members of the family. Expect lots and lots of pumpkins, great food, roasted chestnuts, and live music. Afternoon events for children include a local version of trick or treating with the children dressed up as deceased carrying their carved ‘Cocce de morte’ (Jack O’Lanterns). Read more
Tuesday 31st October, Roccascalegna (CH)
Halloween at Roccascalegna, the castle that was featured in the TV Series In the Name of the Rose.
The castle guides will recount the legend of the bloodthirsty Baron de Corvis. Enjoy the fire-eater’s show in this unique setting.
Admission with a reduced ticket price for those in fancy dress!
Where to Stay for Halloween in Abruzzo
We recommend our Abruzzo Directory member, Casa Majella in Serramonacesca which is central to all the activities listed in our Halloween in Abruzzo trail and on the doorstep of our favourite nighttime Halloween adventure, L’Aneme de le Morte. The house has 2 airy double bedrooms each with an additional bed and cot, a study, a living room with fireplace and an eat-in kitchen both connecting and with access to a large veranda, a spacious terrace overlooking the valley, 2 bathrooms with bidet and shower, barbecue, lawn and olive grove.
Halloween in Abruzzo Map