Halloween is an annual observance every 31 October in Belgium. It is not an official holiday, but it is a a fun festive event just before the more serious All Saints and All Souls Days at the start of November. Though it has modern roots in American popular culture, Halloween’s true origins are in centuries old Celtic and Christian traditions.
Belgium has had a longstanding tradition of lighting up candles on the eve of All Saints Day in honour of departed ancestors and family members. This has to do with the belief that the deceased may prowl about on the night of 31 October, when the veil between the realm of the dead and the realm of the living is thought to be “at its thinnest”.
By contrast, “modern” Halloween is a recent introduction in the land of Belgium. But it’s already taken a strong hold. Costumes are now common, with vampires being the favourite. Cities put on Halloween festivals, parties, and parades. And fairground-style rides are made available to kids.
Traditionally, bad luck is a big concern in Belgium on Halloween. People once took the avoidance of black cats seriously here. And that meant not only avoiding letting one cross your path but also not letting them enter your home, place of business, or boat.