Boo! While Amsterdam Mamas will not be hosting a Halloween event this year, here are some family events open to the public as well as some local resources for costumes, movies, and even ghost stories!
Halloween, or 'Hallowed Eve', falls on 31 October, the night before the Roman Catholic Holy Day of All Saints Day. Originally of Celtic origin, Halloween has transcended countries and cultures; the opportunity to dress up in costume and give frights big and small to other revelers has global appeal.
Amsterdam Halloween 2021
Get a Fright! The Amsterdam Dungeon is marking Halloween from 9 - 31 October with extended hours from the 28th - 31st October! Reserve tickets for their favorite time of year with an extra scary seance show!
If you are open to making an excursion out of the city, Walibi, an amusement park about an hour west of Amsterdam, is celebrating Halloween with Spooky Days (suitable for children 12 and under) and Fright Nights (13 and up).
Climb in the Dark! Fun Forest Amsterdam is hosting night climbing on 23 and 30 October - a great way to face your fears!
Make Monster Soup! At Pluktuin Amstelveen October is pumpkin month! Buy some pumpkins for making jack o'lanterns and go to a special show to see Professor Bombasticus make his special Halloween soup!
Listen to Halloween Music! The Concertgebouw's annual Family Halloween Concert has returned this year with music a selection of spooky tunes from Stravinsky, Harry Potter, Grieg, Star Wars, and more!
Dress up and Decorate! Large gatherings are out this year, but whether it's your own family or safely-sized small group, costumes and decorations can make Halloween weekend feel very festive. Here are some of our favorite local businesses ready to supply you with all your Halloween gear:
- Kinderfeestwinkel: This children's party store in De Pijp has everything you need for a Halloween party or any other party throughout the year. Warning: if your child adores big, flouncy, tutu style skirts you may not leave the store without one.
- Witbaard: Oodles of Halloween stuff - both scary and fun. Check out the huge collection of children's costumes upstairs! Witbaard is also located close to Duikelman in case you need to visit an amazing culinary supply store for Halloween-themed cookie cutters or sharp knives for carving pumpkins.
- Louis Wittenburg, around since 1901, knows its business and is ready to supply all of the Halloween needs of our Centrum dwelling families and visitors.
- Dam in Oost has an incredible array of Halloween and many other holiday items. You can shop in-store or order online.
Watch a Movie! My kids are either bored or terrified by the movies I remember from my (admittedly long ago) childhood. Thankfully, Rotten Tomatoes has created a listing of family-friendly but frightful films to help you choose. Popcorn, costumes, and a good spooky movie—you've got this Halloween covered!
When the kids go to bed, all of you Dutch learners/scary movie aficionados might consider watching the Dutch film The Vanishing (available for rent on Apple TV) based on the story The Golden Egg by native Amsterdammer Tim Krabbé (brother of actor Jeroen Krabbé). It was made into a Hollywood film (with a very young Sandra Bullock) but the original is much scarier. And it's good practice for your Dutch!
Spooky within Amsterdam
The blood of condemned prisoners is said to have flowed through Blood Street as it drained into the canal, and Spook Alley is the eternal home of the ghost of Helena, who killed her sister in a fit of jealousy. Nearby Dam Square is known after dark as home to the spirits of victims of the witch trials, while the nearby Amsterdam Dungeon, itself built over a medieval cemetery, offers a chilling exhibit of the city’s darker past.
To get the most of Amsterdam’s haunted past, visitors can join a local ghost tour (e.g., The Ghost Walk of Amsterdam), and the Amsterdam Dungeon has a variety of frightening but fun Halloween activities.
A prison from 1580 to 2007, Blokhuispoort has seen its fair share of horrifying incidents — and the victims of those traumas continue to haunt the fortress today.
In the 17th century, people were tortured and publically executed here, and in the 19th and into the 20th centuries, it housed a sick ward with tuberculosis patients. Take a tour through the building, now a museum, to hear the stories of the tragic spirits who continue to roam its dimly lit halls.
Ghost Stories from Netherlands
Read about Aunty Cor, the Jordaan fortune teller who could take revenge on evildoers by conjuring up figures in the flames, or Rixt who lured ships to their doom to steal their bounty until she found her own child in the wreckage, or walled-in nuns, or ghost ships off the Dutch coast ... if you are seeking chills they are all here: haunted castles, witches and ghosts.
Halloween Travel in Europe
For people who enjoy getting chills down their spines, Amsterdam Mama’s regular contributor Mary Petiet compiled a list of spooky Halloween destinations all over Europe, including two from here in the Netherlands:
Anastasia Drost is the Editor in Chief of Amsterdam Mamas. Born and raised in the US, she now lives in Amsterdam with her Dutch husband and two children. She loves yoga, cold water therapy, long walks, and flaky treats from her local French bakery.
Mary Petiet is an author, poet, and freelance writer. The author of the recently released Moon Tide: Cape Cod Poems, and Owl Magic: Your Guide Through Difficult Times, Mary is also the founder of Sea Crow Press, a small independent imprint curating creative nonfiction and poetry to give her titles a home.
Main banner credit: Audrey Coggins