Good for the souls

Take a trip and experience the true spirit of Hallowe'en

The evening of 31 October, otherwise known as Hallowe'en, is traditionally associated with the supernatural. Originally a Pagan festival, it is also the eve of All Saints' Day. On the other hand, All Souls' Day, on 2 November, is a Christian tradition that honours the spirits of the dead.

The evening of 31 October, otherwise known as Hallowe'en, is traditionally associated with the supernatural. Originally a Pagan festival, it is also the eve of All Saints' Day. On the other hand, All Souls' Day, on 2 November, is a Christian tradition that honours the spirits of the dead.

Hallowe'en is celebrated mainly in North America and Western Europe but it is related to folk holidays in other parts of the world. The Day of the Dead, a Mexican holiday, coincides with All Souls' Day and blends Roman Catholic and Native American traditions. If you want your festivities to go beyond a spot of trick or treating, here are five of the best places to be this Hallowe'en:

Oaxaca, Mexico

As in many Mexican towns, on 30 and 31 October the markets are packed with people and flowers. The following couple of days sees Oaxaca's citizens dressing up as ghouls, ghosts, mummies and skeletons, and parading through the town. In their homes, families gather to arrange altars of flowers, bread, fruit and sweets, in memory of their deceased relatives. They will also tend the family graves.

New York, USA

The annual Greenwich Village Hallowe'en parade takes place on 31 October, marching up Sixth Avenue from Spring to 23rd Streets, between 6.45pm to 10pm. More than 30,000 people in costumes and around two million spectators will join in the fun. For details, contact the New York Convention and Visitors Bureau (020-7437 8300, www.nycvisit.com).

Salem, USA

Salem Haunted Happenings is an annual Hallowe'en celebration in Massachusetts. This year it runs from 6 October through to 31 October, with a series of parades, psychic fairs, costume balls and ghost tours. A highlight is the candlelit walk along the trail of the 1692 witch trials, leaving at 7pm daily from the Old Town Hall in Derby Square. For details, call 00 1 978 744 0991.

Prague, Czech Republic

On All Souls' Day, it is traditional for the families of Prague to light candles, lay wreaths and say prayers for the dead. Many of these low-key ceremonies centre on the city's enormous Olsany Cemetery, which was originally built as a burial ground for victims of the great plague of 1680.

Whitby, UK

Hallowe'en attracts the Goth fraternity to Whitby, in homage to the town's former resident, Bram Stoker. On 31 October there will be vampire balls to keep you entertained, and the streets will be overrun with people in top hats and capes. The main event this year is the Ghost Walk which leaves Whale Bone Arch, West Cliff at 8pm and lasts for about 90 minutes (£3 per person). For details call Whitby Tourist Office on 01947 602674.

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