Halloween in the Netherlands: the ultimate [and spookiest] guide for 2020

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. That, and 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.

Halloween in the Netherlands is gradually becoming more popular. Image: Pixabay/Pexels

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 2020.

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 do 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.

Of course, during a pandemic it’s all different: people are less likely to want to have contact with others or pass candy to a bunch of kids. Regardless, you may find the odd house is accepting trick-or-treaters this year — although we wouldn’t count on it. If you do decide to go on the hunt, make sure to keep your distance!

Some neighbourhoods have come together to corona-proof their trick-or-treating. Halloween enthusiasts in Hilversum have created a Facebook Group for people to sign up their houses and join their trick-or-treat map. They’re encouraging people to abide by the restrictions around group sizes, keep their distance, and safely pack the treats.

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 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).

Adorable kids running around in costumes all night for candy? ADORABLE. Image: Yuting/Unsplash

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.

Do you know of a street or neighbourhood joining in the fun? Let us know in the comments below!

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.

Heading out for Halloween in the Netherlands? Don’t forget to dress up! Image: NeONBRAND/Unsplash

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 2020?

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.

Naturally, most of the events for Halloween this year are cancelled due to the coronavirus crisis (and there’s nothing scarier than that). Regardless, some events are still occurring. For example, in Leiden, you can take a full moon nature walk in the Leidse Hout park, complete with some bone-chilling ghost stories.

If you need something even spookier, Strik Halloween Horrortocht are holding two nights of corona-proof Halloween Horror Mansion Fun. Before being scared senseless, participants purchase limited tickets, disinfect their hands, keep their distance, and come only at their specified time. But be fast — tickets are almost sold out!

Meanwhile, in Schiedam, you can head for a horror of an evening at Princess Beatrix Park with Fright Nights At The Park. Costumes are encouraged, and there’ll be plenty of clowns, witches, skeletons, vampires, zombies and other creepy figures along the way!

There are other socially-distanced events floating around out there, but remember: nothing’s more terrifying than not keeping your distance or forgetting to wash your hands 😉

Halloween in the Netherlands is the perfect time to party. Image: Bruce Mars/Pexels

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 spooktacular 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

Samantha Dixon 🇦🇺
Sam isn’t great at being Dutch. Originally hailing from Australia, she came to study in the Netherlands without knowing where the country was on a map. She once accidentally ordered the entire ice-cream menu at Smullers. She still can’t jump on the back of a moving bike. But, she remains fascinated by the tiny land of tall people.

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  1. The hilversum halloween event is brilliant! There’s just over 170 houses participating in a trick or treat map


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