Eight very creepy Halloween costumes ideas from Spain

Forget flamenco dancers and bullfighters, The Local counts down the freakiest alternative costume ideas to dress up in this Halloween.

Eight very creepy Halloween costumes ideas from Spain
Photo: Pan's Labyrinth
Deformed child from the film The Orphanage

Screen grab: TerrorLand/YouTube
This kid is one of the creepiest characters in a very spooky Spanish horror. Three best props: with this costume, it's all about the mask. Grab a grubby sack, use buttons for the eyes and stick a mop head on top for the full gory effect.
Spanish inquisitor
Screen grab: YouTube
The Spanish Inquisition was a brutal way of keeping tabs on the Jews and Muslims of Spain who converted to Christianity. Lasting over 350 years, it saw people tortured in all sorts of horrible ways including the infamous 'potro' (rack). Killer props for an inquisitor include red cloaks, crucifixes and a twirly moustache.
The faun from the movie Pan's Labyrinth

Photo: Pan's Labyrinth
Although the faun is a good guy in this allegorical film about Spain's Civil War, he still looks pretty damn creepy. Best props include ram horns (if you have any lying around), white contact lenses and a moth-ridden old coat.
Juana La Loca (Joan The Mad)
This 15th century Spanish Queen is said to have suffered a breakdown after her husband died. She was then locked away in a convent for the rest of her life. Some people say, however, she wasn't crazy at all but was a victim of politics and power. Props for a Joan the Mad costume include a crown, a corset and a ball and chain.

Photo: Kit/Flickr
Zorro (literally 'fox') was the creation of New York pulp writer Johnson McCulley. The masked outlaw, of Spanish descent, has featured in books, telvision series and, most recently, in the Hollywood film starring Antonio Banderas. So channel your inner Antonio and dress in head-to-toe black… and don't forget your mask and sword! 
The conquistador Francisco Pizarro

Photo: HistoryJunkie
The shrewd Pizarro conquered Peru for the Spanish Crown. He also made enemies by accepting masses of gold from Atahualpa, the last Incan Emperor, and then killing him anyway. Pizarro props include a helmet, a pointy beard and a sackful of gold (or chocolate money, if that's easier to organize).
Spain's Public Enemy Number 1: Luis Bárcenas

Photo: AFP
The former treasurer of Spain's ruling Popular Party is facing charges of fraud, bribery and influence peddling. Three key props for a killer costume: hair gel, envelopes and stripy pyjamas (for those long prison nights).
A political leader 

Photo: Greenpeace
If you want your child to be the talk of the Halloween party, you could dress them up as a mini version of one of Spain's top politicians (in the style of this brilliant recent Greenpeace campaign). 

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How to celebrate Halloween in Spain (a festival invented in Galicia)

The Halloween holiday is celebrated across Spain not least because it involves a national bank holiday tagged onto a weekend which is known as a puente and ensures that everyone has three days off.

How to celebrate Halloween in Spain (a festival invented in Galicia)
Photo: AFP

But of course this is Spain which means that things are done their own way, so don’t expect carved pumpkins and trick or treating to done in the same way as it is in America.

Three day celebration

 All Saints Day falls on a Sunday this year which means technically there is no reason to give anyone a day off to get back to their village and visit their departed loved-ones. But this is Spain and everyone loves a puente so a bank holiday has been added on Monday, just so people can have a three day weekend.

However, because of covid-19 restrictions, much of Spain has closed regional borders or imposed perimeter lockdowns to stop the movement of people in a bid to curb the spread of infection.

Photo: AFP


Dressing up

Children are expected to dress up in spooky costumes for their last day of school before the Halloween long weekend, oh and the teachers too, and things generally focus on the creepy. Think witches, zombies and devils rather than superheroes, TV stars and literary favourites.

In normal years, some towns stage community trick or treating events inviting children in dress-up to visit a circuit of shops where they will be given candy and treats culminating in a costume party in a local square, but this won't  be happening this year.

And there won't be the usual Halloween themed events in pubs, clubs and restaurants. Remember groups are now limited to six people maximum and there's a nationwide curfew in place.

However there's no reason you won't see an organised zombie march taking place in a plaza near you – as long as they are socially distanced!

Photo: AFP




Galicia: The birthplace of Halloween

In Galicia, the northwestern region famous for its rich Gaelic folklore and ghost legends, Halloween is a seriously big deal. In fact, some argue that it was invented here.

Known as Samaín the ancient autumn festival celebrated in Galicia was a precursor of America's Halloween.

In Galician villages such as Cedeira, O Vicedo and Narón, kids and adults have for centuries dressed up as spirits and magical beings, organised death marches, carved scary faces in pumpkins and gone trick or treating, all activities that will be curtailed this year.

It starts on October 31st with the Noite dos Calacús (Night of the Pumpkins) involving as pumpkin carving, costume parties, bonfires, rituals. 

Look out for the queimada – a  hot punch made from orujo mixed with herbs, sugar, lemon peel, apple and coffee beans. It is brewed in a special clay pot and stirred with a ladle while incantations banishing evil are chanted over it as it burns with a blue flame.

Photo: AFP

Catalonia, chestnuts and witches

Across Catalonia, towns usually stage the traditional Castanyada – the traditions of which date back hundreds of years and involve a funereal feast of vegetables, nuts, chestnuts and sweet bread rolls. 

But all these events are cancelled this year. 

However, there is no reason why you can't recreate the festivities with your family or housemates at home. Here's the recipe for the small bread rolls known as panallets.

READ ALSO:  Panellets: How to make the traditional Catalan Halloween treat

Photo: Nadine/Flickr

Halloween is also known in Spain as Dia de las Brujas and you’ll see creepy decorations of witches propped up all over the place.

The small town of Sant Feliu Sasserra near Bages in Catalonia really celebrates the witch cult honouring 23 women sentenced to death for witchcraft during the Inquisition.

All Saints Day

A man tends the grave of a loved on in Almudena cemetery in Madrid. Photo: Lynn Spreadbury/The Local

November 1st is the Día de Todos los Santos when families gather in cemeteries to tend to their loved ones’ graves taking fresh flowers and special pastries.

These include the peculiarly named buñuelos de viento – nun’s farts – which are bite-sized donuts filled wih cream; huesos de santo – bones of the holy – which are finger sized tubes of marzipan; and panellets, nutty pasties.

This year however, authorities are urging people to maintain social distancing and avoid meeting groups of people larger than six. 

Drones will be patrolling the larger cemeteries to make sure people are keeping to the rules.

This year, authorities  have urged citizens to act responsibly given the fact that Spain is now in the grip of the second wave of coronavirus.

“This isn't the year for going to cemeteries nor having Halloween parties, nor going anywhere,” insisted Enrique Lopez, Madrid's regional justice minister. 


It’s not all about ghouls and ghosties.

Suggested outfits from the Bishopric of Cadiz and Ceuta. Photo: Shower of Roses

The Spanish Catholic Church has been fighting back against the popularity of the “satanic festival” of Halloween by urging good Christian children to forgo zombie, ghost and devil outfits and instead dress up as “saints, virgins and apostles”.

Recents years have seen the rise of “Holywins” parties thrown by churches or catholic schools with children dressing up their favourite saint, a monk or nun, or even one of the apostles. But they won't be happening this year either.

“With Holywins, which stands for Holiness Wins, one can avoid the pagan festival and reclaim the meaning of the Catholic feast day of All Saints,” reads a statement from the Diocese of Cartagena.

Stay at home

The good news is that there are no restrictions on staying at home and scaring yourself silly with a horror film on Halloween night.

READ MORE: 12 Spanish horror films to terrify you at Halloween