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La Castanyada and Halloween in Barcelona

La Castanyada vs Halloween in Barcelona

October in Barcelona is an exciting time for sure, and there is no shortage of things to see and do! November 1st in Barcelona traditionally celebrates the holiday of La Castanyada, but recently ‘American Halloween’ on October 31st has become increasingly popular, which prompts the question – can both holidays coexist despite their differences? Furthermore, how can we celebrate La Castanyada and Halloween in Barcelona?

La Castanyada in Barcelona

La Castanyada, a traditional Catalan celebration, is frequently referred to as the ‘Catalan Halloween’ nowadays; however, historically this holiday serves to not only honour the dead, but also mark the end of summer and beginning of winter.


La Castanyada is closely tied to the Catholic holiday of All Saints’ Day (Dia de Todos Los Santos) on November 1st, when Catholics honour the dead. In Spain, people put flowers on the graves of the loved ones that have passed and attend a church service in their honour. Since this is a national public holiday, most shops will be closed. For those that are interested in knowing more about this day, one can visit the cemetery museum at Montjuïc, a site absolutely worth checking out.


For La Castanyada, the people traditionally ring bells throughout the night of October 31st to honour their dead, a tradition that can be traced back to the Middle Ages. Then, the following day of November 1st, the ‘official’ day of La Castanyada, they would celebrate by eating all sorts of traditional foods, mainly sweets.


The foods consumed can vary by region, but some of the most popular ones in Catalonia include castanyes (roasted chestnuts), roasted sweet potatoes (moniatos), and panellets (marzipan balls, often with pinenuts), which can be found all over the city from October through December. A sweet wine, like Moscatell, often accompanies these sweets. 


From the beginning of October you can find ‘castanyeras,’ or chestnut roasters, throughout the city. They grill the chestnuts and sweet potatoes right in front of you, wrap them in newspaper, and serve them steaming hot and delicious! As for the infamous panellets, they come in a wide range of flavors. A few days before the traditional feast, bakeries and cake shops would work full-time to fill their shop windows with enormous amounts of this small but highly demanded treat. Every year, a crazy 250.000 kg of these desserts are sold in patisseries and bakeries!

how to celebrate la Castanyada in Barcelona

eat delicious traditional foods

Perhaps one of the things La Castanyada is best known for is the amazing food, so what better way to celebrate than to eat your way around Barcelona? There are treats everywhere - panellets, roasted chestnuts, roasted sweet potatoes, candied fruits, and more! It is very easy to find places all throughout Barcelona that offer these treats, from pastry shops and bakeries to street vendors. There is plenty of time to enjoy these treats too, as they are often around almost until Christmas!

Visit Montjuïc Cemetary

The Montjuïc Cemetary, built into the Montjuïc mountain, is enormous at 57 acres, giving the area a rather morbid atmosphere that is especially worth checking out this Halloween season! It is rich in history, much of which is relevant to La Castanyada! As the largest cemetary in Barcelona, a bus service is required to get around. The 'graves' range anywhere from simple urns to extravagant crypts for the rich. There are many examples of beautiful funeral sites here, from impressive architecture to amazing stained-glass displays. Furthermore, because the cemetary takes up the seaward side of the mountain, the setting is gorgeous with Mediterranean views and plants.

Castanyada - Halloween - October and November in Barcelona
Castanyada - Halloween - October and November in Barcelona

Halloween in barcelona

Much like La Castanyada, Halloween, a popular typically American holiday, has its roots in the Christian celebration of All Saints’ Day, when people would go from door to door to receive a “soul cookie,” which supposedly helped people travel to heaven faster; clearly, this is where the hallmark American Halloween tradition of “trick-or-treating” comes from, where kids and parents alike dress up in fun costumes and go from door to door asking for candy on the evening of October 31st.


Additionally, Halloween has origins in the Celtic New Year’s festival, Samhain, which traditionally marked the transition into winter, which the Celts associated with darkness, evil spirits, and death. The traditional colors of Halloween, black and orange, also come from the Celts, with orange being the color of harvest, and black being that of night. Irish immigrants descended from the Celts then brought these traditions to the United States. 


Although Halloween was originally a more serious celebration for adults, kids became more and more involved every year, until Halloween finally became the exciting celebration it is known for today – with Halloween in Barcelona becoming increasingly popular every year!


Overall, both Halloween and La Castanyada are quite similar in that they both have something to do with the dead; however, La Castanyada is more about honouring the dead, whereas Halloween takes a slightly less serious twist that simply incorporates lighthearted themes relating to the dead, like ghosts for example. Nevertheless, La Castanyada and Halloween are starting to blend together a bit.

How to Celebrate Halloween in Barcelona

Despite being most popular in America, Halloween nonetheless is making its impact in Barcelona. Some highlights can be found below, but there is plenty to do!

Dress up for Halloween

It can be a bit difficult to find Halloween costumes around Barcelona, but there are a few good stores, as follows, many of which have several locations across Barcelona: Party Fiesta, El Corte Ingles, and DRIM, to name a few.

Go trick-or-treating

There is a community of American expats that meet every year in the Turo Parc area to trick-or-treat with their kids at participating stores in the area; however, anyone can go trick-or-treating in the area, and in many areas throughout Barcelona!

Halloween in Barcelona: Decorations

Halloween in Barcelona is celebrated more and more every year. Decorate your home with fun Halloween decorations incorporating pumpkins, ghosts, bats, black cats, and more! For example, decorations like white cobwebs and ghosts can be seen hanging from some buildings and shops throughout Barcelona. Unfortunately, there are no pumpkin patches or stands like in America, though some small pumpkins can be found at La Boqueria Market. However, decorations can be found in several stores throughout Barcelona, including some of the previously mentioned ones for Halloween costumes! One such store, "Flying Tiger Copenhagen," has many seasonal items you can check out!

The Sitges Zombie Walk

Over one-thousand people disguised as zombies parade through Sitges, which is less than an hour outside of Barcelona's city center.

Halloween dinners

Enjoy a themed Halloween dinner at many restaurants in Barcelona. One such restaurant, Enigmatum, puts on an interactive dinner show, but leaves its location a mystery, so you can only find it if you follow the clues.

Halloween in Barcelona: Nightlife / partying

Get dressed up in a costume for Halloween in Barcelona and party at some of Barcelona’s best clubs throughout the entire week. For example, Razzmatazz has its “Razzlloween” party highlighting famous DJ’s. There is a 17 euro entry fee, but it includes a drink. Other popular clubs celebrating Halloween include Pachá, Opium, Catwalk, Sala Apolo, and more.

Visit Macabre Park

This horror park is in Terrassa, check out the video below!

Visit Horrorland

This horror park in Vilassar de Dalt (15 minute drive from Barcelona) has haunted houses, games, scary shows, and more. Check out what it was like in 2022 with the video below!

Halloween in Barcelona: haunted places to check out

Being that Barcelona has over 2,000 years of history, it’s no surprise that this Catalan capital has plenty of ghosts and mystery to explore as well. There is certainly no shortage of haunted places.

Ciutat Vella

A street in La Ribera called Carrer de la Neu de Sant Cugat once housed perhaps the most famous school for witchcraft in all of Barcelona, and was run by an odd man named “Seca.”


Rocafort Metro Station is now known as “the cursed station” because of all the dark incidents that have occurred here. For example, there have been multiple suicides at this station. Furthermore, some even say ghosts walk on the platform and tracks, which has supposedly been found on the station surveillance cameras as well… 

El Born

At number 7 on Carrer dels Mirallers, Jacint Verdaguer, a famous Catalan writer and priest, was known to perform many exorcisms at this location.

Santa Coloma de Cervelló

Torre Salvana, a now abandoned castle, dates as far back as the 10th century and is renowned for its unusual supposed paranormal activity, earning the nickname ‘Castillo del Infierno,’ meaning ‘Castle of Hell.

The Vampiress of Carrer Ponent

Not only are there numerous haunted places throughout Barcelona, but the city is also rich with urban legends. One particularly interesting story is that of “The Vampiress of Carrer Ponent,” or Enriqueta Martí i Ripollés, who in the early 1900’s was suspected of being a vampire who created concoctions from children’s remains. She then sold these to the elite disguised as “miracle cures” for all sorts of ailments, such as tuberculosis, one of the greatest concerns at the time.


In 1912, she was arrested for her involvement in a missing neighborhood girl, and the ensuing search of her home revealed jars of blood, fats, and other odd substances, as well as the hair, clothes, skulls, and bones of children.

Recap Halloween in Barcelona

Ultimately, Barcelona embraces both La Castanyada and Halloween, though each is celebrated in different ways. While La Castanyada plays homage to Catalan traditions with a slightly more serious tone, Halloween adds a playful twist to the mix. As these two celebrations coexist, Barcelona offers a wide range of experiences, from trick-or-treating or haunted explorations to unforgettable nightlife, to name a few. So, go out and celebrate La Castanyada and Halloween in Barcelona!

More tips for enjoying Autumn in Barcelona

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