Cultural blending: Dressing up for Halloween and honoring All Saint’s Day

November 2, 2014

in Cultural differences,Living abroad

Stockholm Alla helgans dag on the Baltic Sea in Saltsjöbaden.


Stockholm Candles in the cemetery.


Stockholm Inside the chapel.


It’s been a busy weekend. Friday night we got dressed up in costumes and went to a Halloween party at a pub in Gamla Stan  with friends. I went as Cleopatra, Robert was a cowboy. Dressed as Amy Winehouse, my friend Leticia won the costume contest at the Liffey. She had some stiff competition at the pub, including a group of four women dressed in Kill Bill attire, complete with samurai-sword fighting.

Saturday afternoon, I had my day made by two 8-year-old boys. I answered the doorbell to find them dressed like Jason in Friday the 13th with hockey masks and plastic axes. Each held out small bowls and yelled godis! I laughed and ran to get them some candies. They thanked me and stood for a moment, a bit unsure of what to do next. As we are on the top floor of our apartment building, I think the boys started with us and were making their way down. So I yelled Happy Halloween and laughed again.

Never mind that it was actually the day after Halloween, I loved seeing this little bit of the US. Trick or treat is becoming much more popular as part of Halloween since I’ve lived in Stockholm, but I’ve never had trick or treaters here before.

Then last night, we went to our friends Judy and Olle’s house in honor of alla hellons dag or all saints day. Six of us hiked through the dark, misty woods to a cemetery in Saltsjöbaden to light candles and pay our respects. I always find this tradition to be a lovely one and have enjoyed it. Here are some photos from last year from a church in Södermalm, as well as a bit more about how the holiday is celebrated.

Looking at the weekend, celebrating both Halloween and all saint’s day, I got to observe my old traditions from the US while incorporating the new to me ones from Sweden. For me, it felt like a perfect blend.


Stockholm On Friday night, we went out to a Halloween party in Gamla Stan, the old town. I was Cleopatra, and my friend Leticia was Amy Winehouse while Virginia was a witch.


Stockholm Amy Winehouse wins the costume competition.


Halloween The close up.

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