It isn’t the most celebrated holiday here, but Halloween in Rome (and Italy) is definitely increasing in popularity and practice in recent years.
The holidays here aren’t as commercialized as they are in other countries and in most instances are very modest, keeping with the original meaning behind the holiday. You won’t find stores trying to sell Halloween candy in August, same as you won’t see Christmas decorations, sales and such being advertised three months before the holiday. One of the many reasons I love Italy.
Not to say that Italian’s do not honor their dead. All Saint’s Day (or Ognissanti) on November 1st is a big feast for all the saints you’d find on the typical Catholic calendar, not to mention it’s a public holiday. Which works out perfectly if you wanted to go out for Halloween the night prior. Also observed in Italy is All Souls’ Day on November 2nd, dedicated to all of those that departed.
Not being a fan of Halloween (or any holiday for that matter) I was almost disappointed to learn that Halloween had caught on here at all. Luckily for me though, the momentum has been slow moving. But I have seen a slight increase from one year to the next, especially in Rome. The city seems to have borrowed a few traditions from other countries, taking a cue from the many expats and students that live here. You will find some pumpkins around – and not just in their fall pasta dishes. And while the trick or treat concept is not the same as it is in the states, you will see crowds of children going door to door to the few decorated shops.
You’ll also notice more and more people dressed up in costume around the holiday, although nothing compared to the shenanigans I was used to dealing with in NYC. There are some scary movies playing in theaters (in English and Italian) and a few good parties the weekend leading up to All Hallow’s Eve.
So, if you’re not at all like me and feel like celebrating - check out Wanted in Rome or Romeing for what’s going on around town or expat groups like Internations or Expats Living in Rome for some fun, costume-party options.