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 for carving are now sold in the supermarkets. Halloween is seen as a commercial addition to the calendar rather than a replacement of Abruzzo’s own meaningful celebrations that you can read about here.
Sunday 31st 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 flavorsome meats, and of course taking a short hike with donkeys. Doors open at 10.30, meeting the Witch and her raven. Italian, English, and Dutch are spoken. Pre Booking Essential. Buy tickets online here
La Notte Delle Lumère n.4, in Santo Stefano di Sessanio, is an evening event 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 ( Capotempo ) was celebrated by the farming community in its celebrations between 31st October and San Martino day. Hosts Gira e Gia (read our review of donkey hiking with them). Italian and English are spoken. SOLD OUT
On the scariest night of the year, join Majellando in Sant’Eufemia a Majella (PE) for a night hike. You will cross the magical fairytale wood with headlamps only, telling stories of witches, the werewolf, and the prince transformed into a tree. Part of the walk will be reaching a panoramic point to see the Maiella, Monte Morrone, and the Gran Sasso chain silhouettes. At the end of the excursion, it is possible to have dinner with an autumn-themed dinner in the village. Languages spoken, Italian. Booking pre-essential, click here to book.
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 held the living and the dead in a frank and continuous “correspondence of loving senses”. From Saturday 30th October 2021.
Monday 1st November
Spoltore (PE) commemorates and remembers through its traditional ‘La Tavola dei Morti’, (The Table of the Dead) event on Monday 1st November. This devotional celebration used to be a popular tradition right across Southern Italy until the 1950s, that 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. 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.
Normal Non-Pandemic Years
Serramonesca, 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 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).