Double, double, toil and trouble, Halloween in the Netherlands is just a nubble. Luckily for our American friends, Halloween celebrations have started to trend. In the cauldron, boil and bake, Dutch Halloween is in the make.
Here’s a harrowing thought for our American readers: Halloween in the Netherlands is virtually non-existent. We say virtually because we can’t deny it’s been creeping up in popularity over recent years. We’re going to attribute this to more expats, and that Dutch people really like wearing costumes. Oh, and the free candy! 🍭
Are you searching for a way to get your freaky Frankenstein on? Or a chance to get some treats and play some tricks? Read on for the frightful, the gruesome, and the ghoulish celebrations for Halloween in the Netherlands — and some ghastly cackles along the way. 👻
Is there a history of Halloween in the Netherlands?
Halloween in the Netherlands is little more than a creeping Americanisation — the Dutch have never traditionally celebrated Halloween, and likely never will. After all, the Dutch are potato-eaters, not pumpkin-carvers. However, that hasn’t stopped Halloween parties popping up, Dutch stores stocking ghastly orange products around October, and even trick-or-treaters hitting the streets. 🎃
But, what the Dutch traditionally do have is Sint-Maarten. It’s almost two weeks later than American Halloween and, like its American sibling, features kids knocking on doors and getting candy (or money!). Unlike Halloween, the children switch full-costumes for masks, and sing delightful songs instead of chanting “trick-or-treat!” 🎶
For a Sint-Maarten celebration, you’ll have to hold your horses until November 11 — and this is still only celebrated in some regions. Or, if you’re looking to indulge in some fancy dress, perhaps Carnaval is more your style. 👯
But, if you just can’t wait for the hair-raising hocus-pocus and want to celebrate Halloween the way we’ve all grown up seeing in American movies, read on for all the spellbinding events for Halloween in the Netherlands in 2021.
Can we go trick-or-treating during Halloween in the Netherlands?
Can you go knock on people’s doors dressed in spooky costumes and ask for candy? Well, technically you can do that any day of the week, but the Dutch aren’t likely to give you any — and they might even call the politie. But, on October 31st? The real answer is it depends.
Some residents in certain neighbourhoods do agree to decorate their houses with Halloween decorations, so children know where they can trick-or-treat. 🍬
For example, Fazantenkamp in Maarssen, Utrecht does a ghost tour through their village each year. And in Den Haag a Trick-or-Treat evening has been arranged in the past near B. Thoenplantsoen — children know where the candy is by flyers that hang in the window of participating houses.
Last year was a definitely difficult one for Halloween due to the pandemic and the 1.5-metre social distancing rule. However, since the Dutch government got rid of that measure on September 25, technically you can visit people’s houses for candy! You still should be mindful, however, to stay at home and get a corona test if you have symptoms. Also, be sure that your neighbours are willing to participate in the holiday and ask them in advance if it’s okay to visit on the 31st of October (the Dutch love their afspraken 😜).
Will there be candy?
Asking the real questions. Even data backs up that people stock up on sweet treats around Halloween. In 2017, sales of the candy company Haribo increased by 65% in the weeks leading up to Halloween.
Even better, instead of chanting ‘Trick or Treat!’ the Dutch prefer to go for ‘je snoep of je leven,’ or directly translated ‘your candy or your life’ — so sweet, right?!
(FYI: I’m all for free sweets, but don’t give me any of that drop, okay? I don’t care what the Dutch think, that’s not real candy🙅 ).
So will the Dutchies in your neighbourhood be donning costumes, slapping on face paint, and preparing bowls of free candy? Ultimately, it’s more likely to be individual streets involved rather than whole neighbourhoods, but it’s a chance you’ll have to take on the evening.
But, never fear on the spookiest night of the year, DutchReviewers! Even if we can’t confirm Trick or Treating locations, there are a plethora of spine-chilling events taking place all over the Netherlands! Read on for more details. 👀
Halloween in the Netherlands: where to buy costumes
What’s more terrifying than the spookiness of Halloween? Not having the best costume, of course! While some brick and mortar stores will stock a small selection of Halloween costumes, we prefer to make things easy and do it online.
Remember not to be the person that comes as ‘laundry’ to a Halloween event (you’re better than that — and it’s not fooling anyone). Have some fun, throw on a wig, slip into a costume, and get into the Halloween spirit! 🦇
All dressed up and nowhere to go? Well, now that you’ve got your killer costume, let’s find somewhere to wear it to.
What is there to do on Halloween in the Netherlands in 2021?
Maybe you’re too old to trick or treat, or maybe you just really like gruesome costumes or fright nights. No matter your preference, if you want to celebrate Halloween in the Netherlands without trick-or-treating, you may just find something that takes your fancy.
With the relaxation of the measures, events and parties are back on in (almost) full swing. There are tons of options available to celebrate this holiday! 🍾
Warning: All clubs and venues must close at midnight, and you must have a corona pass in the form of a QR code from the Dutch CoronaCheck app or a negative test result/proof of recovery to enter most venues.
Ready to get your tear up the dancefloor after a year and a half of being stuck inside? We totally get it! Throw on a scantily-clad Halloween costume and hit up the Met-Gala Meets Halloween Party in Rotterdam, where you can watch spooky performances and dance your heart away to DJ sets. 💃
Okay, maybe you don’t want to get wasted and find yourself grinding up to a sexy bumblebee. Maybe you prefer something more refined and elegant? Then, perhaps A Baroque Halloween concert in Den Haag is more your speed. The concert combines beautiful classical music and bone-chilling Halloween stories about murder, heartbreak, and scary demons! 🎻
Are you the kind of person who can watch horror movies before bed and have a car? Then the Halloween Drive-Thru in Zoetermeer might be just the event for you. A 30-minute drive from Leiden, Zoetermeer transforms into a horror film on October 31st. The 15-minute drive-thru has monsters and ghosts jumping out at you, scare-zones, and terrifying music to keep your adrenaline going for days. You can attend with a maximum of five people in your car, and it’s advised for people aged 16 and up. Think you got the guts to make it through this event? ☠️
Most cities have events and parties going on! Just search up Halloween events in your area, and you’re bound to find something great (unless the corona measures get strict again! 😬).
Are you ready for a frightening evening?
While Halloween in the Netherlands isn’t part of Dutch history, the night is really coming into its own. Scope out your trick-or-treat destinations, decorate your house, and head to a truly spook-tacular party! 🥳
Will you be celebrating Halloween in the Netherlands this year? Where are you headed? Let us know in the comments below!
Feature Image: Ehud Neuhaus/Unsplash
Editor’s Note: This article was originally published in October 2020, and was fully updated in October 2021 for your reading pleasure.