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. 👻
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 from popping up, Dutch stores from stocking ghastly orange products, and even trick-or-treaters from 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 2023.
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 year, 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. 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.
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 Treat-ing 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 stores, such as SoLow, 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.
What is there to do on Halloween in the Netherlands in 2023?
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. 🍾
If you have kids, you might not want to traumatise them immediately, and you prefer something less terrifying for now.
Spend Halloween at Center Parcs, where you can join some daytime programs with your whole family! If you just want to show off your pumpkin carving skills, this is also the place to be! 🎃
If, for any reason, your deepest desire is to get terrified while climbing trees in the dark, we have good news for you! Fun Forest Park in Almere, Rotterdam or Amsterdam offers you a unique Halloween program between October 27 and 28. We hope you will enjoy your anxiety in the forest! ☠️
And last but not least. If, for you, Halloween is about getting wasted in a Dracula costume, it’s time to head to the Dutch capital! The 14th edition of Amsterdam Halloween returns to WesterUnie, and it will be bigger (and scarier) than ever!
Don’t forget that most cities have events and parties going on. Just search Halloween events in your area, and you’re bound to find something great!
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? Let us know in the comments below!
Editor’s Note: This article was originally published in October 2020, and was fully updated in October 2023 for your reading pleasure.