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Blog / Halloween

Halloween in South Africa: Ghosts, Goblins and Ghouls, Oh My!

Halloween is one of the most fun and most exciting times of the year for children, and, in recent years, it has increased in popularity with adults as well. While it is perhaps most popular in the United States, Canada and the Western World, traditions and celebrations vary from country to country. Even though it may not be as popular as in other countries, Halloween is celebrated in South Africa!Β 

It has only been in the past few years that it has caught on, but Halloween continues to gain momentum as more and more parties and participants are showing up each year. It’s just another reason to have fun and throw a party, right?

About Halloween in South Africa

Primarily viewed as an American tradition by local residents, Halloween in South Africa is very similar to the way we celebrate it here in North America. It is observed each year on October 31st as a non-secular holiday celebrated with candy and costumes. While the costumes may take on a more South African flair and include local cultural symbolism for the region, you will still see your fair share of ghouls, goblins and vampires! Some of the most popular Halloween costumes in South Africa include:
  • Skeletons
  • Your favorite board game brought to life
  • Old-school cartoon characters
  • Vampires
Since the tradition is relatively new in the area, people have gravitated toward more traditional costume options. Over time, undoubtedly people will get more creative with their costume ideas and look for new ways to impress their friends on Halloween. Cape Town is full of Halloween events that you are familiar with:
  • Haunted houses
  • Zombie walks
  • Trick or treating
  • Horror film festivals
  • Halloween parties
  • Mystery murder dinners

While you would assume there would be some local traditions and rituals, Halloween in South Africa is actually a direct replica of what we have experienced for years.

Why Is Halloween Catching On?

The obvious reason why Halloween is catching on in South Africa is because it’s an excuse to dress up and have fun. It also offers local companies countless business opportunities to cash in on a lucrative holiday. Halloween is a $6 billion industry each year in the U.S. alone! Even though Halloween originated in Ireland with the Celts, symbolizing the end of the summer, it was embraced by the U.S. and taken to an entirely new level of popularity. This popularity of Halloween culture, which has been on display for years in Hollywood films, is now catching on as South Africans are exposed more and more to American and Western culture. Stores in South Africa are following suit with their American counterparts, stocking their stores full of Halloween candy and costumes, bringing the complete experience to South Africans. Halloween is also the perfect marketing opportunity for clubs and restaurants to hold theme events and parties to bring in patrons. While it is not an embedded part of the region's culture, it is quickly becoming another reason to get together with friends and have a good time.

Happy Halloween!

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