Halloween in Malaga is a mix of scary and fun happenings that usually run for three days. It starts with Dia de las Brujas (Day of the Witches) on October 31st, then Dia de Todos los Santos (All Saints Day) on November 1st, and finally, Dia de los Muertos/Difuntos (Day of the Dead or All Souls Day) on November 2nd.
If you are looking for interesting places to visit and fun things to do during this time, you’ve come to the right place. Read on to learn more about Halloween, its origin and development over the course of time, the famous foods associated with it, and thrilling activities for both adults and kids.
1. Origins of Halloween in Malaga
While some people think that Halloween originated in America, it is actually a festival that is native to Europe. Halloween traces its roots back to the ancient Celtic festival of Samhain, a time during the end of the summer when it is believed that the world of the living and that of the dead are closer. The Celts believed that many souls could cross over to the world of the living during this time. Thus, they lit bonfires and wore masks and costumes to scare evil spirits away.
When the Romans conquered the Celtic territories, they tried to adopt the Halloween tradition by merging it with the harvest festival in November. Meanwhile, the Catholic Church unsuccessfully tried to remove pagan traditions by replacing the festivity with “All Saints Day.” The evening before the festivity was later known as “All Hallows Eve,” and later shortened to “Halloween.” Modern-day Halloween in Malaga is celebrated with festive activities that include carving of jack-o-lanterns and trick-or-treating.
2. Terrifying Halloween in Malaga Botanical Gardens
The Conception Botanical Gardens provide an excellent venue for a leisurely stroll during the rest of the year. However, during Halloween, it transforms into a scary route with an abandoned boarding school that is haunted by its former students. We don’t recommend venturing off into the gardens alone, but if you’re not among the faint of heart, then go for it!
Take your family on a clue hunt with a dress parade that costs around €9 for adults and €6.90 for children. At night, experience a terrifying Halloween in Malaga Botanical Gardens, where scary phantoms pop up from the darkest corners of the house and gardens for around €17. Make sure to book your tickets in advance by calling 951 926 180 or 647 585 457.
3. Feel the Chill at the Cemeteries
One of the biggest traditions of local families during Halloween in Malaga is to visit the graves of their departed loved ones. They gather around the grave to clean it, decorate it with flowers, and pray. If you want a particularly frightful experience, check out the two cemeteries below which are known to be extremely haunted.
3.1 San Miguel Cemetery
Taking a guided night tour of the historical cemetery of San Miguel is another way to be in sync with scary vibes during Halloween in Malaga. This 19th-century cemetery is located in the northern part of the city. It boasts of impressively designed crypts and mausoleums. Some of the most famous individuals of Malaga’s bourgeoisie are buried here. Since 1986, this cemetery has been closed for burials. Instead, a large park called Parque de San Miguel was built nearby.
One of the popular ghosts said to be roving around the cemetery is that of American writer Jane Bowles, who reportedly died of tuberculosis in May 1973. Her friends and admirers continue to bring gifts to her grave on the anniversary of her death. Other visitors recount tales of a ghost clad in monastic robes and resembling the parish priest Don Eliseo, who died in early 1946.
3.2 English Cemetery
Form a group of up to six people and take a guided night tour that explains the history of the English Cemetery (Cementerio Ingles), the first non-Catholic graveyard in Spain, which dates back to 1840. This place used to be surrounded by an exquisite garden near the sea. It was also where English citizens spent their afternoon tea time. It is said that those who did not follow the Catholic faith had to be buried in the sand until city authorities allowed the land to be converted into a cemetery. One of the most interesting things to see here are tombs that are fully covered in white shells.
One of the first individuals to be buried here is Robert Boyd, a young man who was executed in 1831 for his role in the defense of freedom. Other notable figures buried here include German movie star Renate Brausewetter, Swedish consul Johan Bolin, and General Torrijos. Tour guides will tell you about these characters and some spooky stories while roaming around this historic cemetery.
4. Halloween in Malaga Center
If you prefer spending Halloween in Malaga city center–especially if you’re with family–you can walk through Larios Street and check out the amazing costumes of people who meet up there. In the evening, you can go to the Soho district to join family-friendly workshops like pumpkin making, storytelling, costume contests, and face painting. For those who can understand fluent Spanish and are eager to stay up late for Halloween thrills, we recommend a guided city tour in the evening.
5. Theme Parks and Activities
May it be a fun scavenger hunt around the city, a goosebumps-inducing trip to the outskirts, or an all-out party in the park, there is no shortage of Halloween activities in Malaga. Read on to explore more options for your Halloween excursion.
5.1. Gymkhana “Escape from the Monsters”
Gymkhana “Escape from the Monsters” is a group scavenger hunt at night that is designed for participants 15 to 35 years of age. In this event, you follow and solve a series of clues that take you to different areas in Malaga. Of course, the scare factor will always be there because you will encounter creatures like vampires, zombies, and monsters along the way. This hunt can start at various points, including Diego Fernandez Mendoza and Navaro Ledesma streets.
5.2. The Cortijo Jurado
Venture out in the Campanillas district on the outskirts of Malaga to visit the Cortijo Jurado, a very popular haunted house that is shrouded in mystery. Once the majestic abode of two of Malaga’s wealthiest families, it now lies in ruins on a hill, and ‘parapsychological’ experiences are held here during Halloween in Malaga. There have been sightings of figures materializing around the area and audio recordings that contain voices saying there are bodies under the ground.
Legends say that after the death of the Heredia family’s patriarch, young girls around the area started to disappear mysteriously from 1890 to 1920. They were reportedly taken as part of a satanic ritual, and some of the bodies of these girls were found near the farmhouse. Stories go on to say that in 1942, a young man entered one of the underground passageways of the cortijo and found a room that contained torture machines and human bones.
5.3. Halloween parties in the parks of Malaga
Join festive Halloween parties within the area of Carretera de Cadiz. Visit Parque Litoral, Parque del Oeste, and Parque de Huelin to join various outdoor activities such as scary face painting and outdoor cooking.
6. What to do for a Kid-Friendly Halloween in Malaga?
Fret not, parents! There are a lot of kid-friendly activities during Halloween in Malaga. You can take your young ones to amusement parks, shopping centers, the city center, and Muelle 1 in the Port of Malaga for some Halloween action. Below are great ways to squeeze in educational activities in between the frights and horrors of Halloween.
6.1. Amusement Parks
Amusement parks in and around Malaga transform into spooktacular venues to celebrate the Halloween festivities. For example, Sea Life becomes an “Ascarium” that offers trick-or-treating and fun activities for families. You can also take your kids to Selwo Marina in Benalmadena and Selwo Adventure in Estepona to see terrifying animals like tarantulas, piranhas, bats, snakes, and poisonous frogs. These are not only fun, but they also provide educational value to your children.
The Benalmadena Cable Car hosts a fancy dress party and turns its cabins into a cobwebbed mode of transportation. The BioParc holds a gymkhana for kids and allows costumed guests to enter for free. The Aeronautical Museum gives out freebies to kids who attend their activities wearing a Halloween garb. The Automobile and Fashion Museum turns into the Fear Museum during Halloween in Malaga.
Most of the activities in amusement parks start during the week that leads up to Halloween. Check local websites or inquire with each venue to know the exact timings of their events.
6.2. Shopping Centers
Bring your kids to different Malaga shopping centers, specially La Roselada. They have puppets and workshops teaching them to create Halloween-themed items. Most of these events occur in the evening. These include visits from famous cartoon characters or superheroes, fun cooking shows with Halloween characters, and workshops for creating tenebrous baskets, crafting Halloween masks, and learning witch makeup.
6.3. Malaga Center
They say the grown-ups get all the fun during Halloween. That’s not true. Come and join children’s Halloween parties in Soho in the evening. Kids will surely enjoy activities such as face painting, costume contests, games, and dancing. Great prizes also await those who join the contests. Not only that, you might also get the chance to become one of the judges in these contests.
The best part of it is that almost all of these events are easily accessible and are concentrated in the city center. This allows your kids to easily explore the different sights and activities in the area without the need for public transportation.
6.4. Muelle 1 of the Port of Malaga
Get your sweet tooth ready when you visit Muelle 1 of the Port of Malaga for trick-or-treating. Drop by all of the participating establishments and collect as much candy as you can. Watch out for the “ghosts and witches” who will visit the port to scare you! You can also join the costume contests with different categories, including those for children, adults, and families. Have fun capturing these moments during the photo sessions, too.
7. Traditional Foods to Try During Halloween in Malaga
No festival is complete without traditional food, right? In Malaga, Halloween also involves a lot of food, including seasonal delicacies that you can buy from vendors around the city. The good news is that these food items are usually very cheap, so you can get a lot of value from your pocket money. Those who have a sweet tooth will be able to satisfy their sugar cravings by trying as many varieties as they want.
Halloween specialties include varieties of chestnut roast, Spanish sweet potatoes, leche frita bites (fried milk), dulce de membrillo (sweet quince paste), and Pestiños (honey glazed fritters). Saint’s Bones (Huesos de Santo), are probably the most popular among these specialties. These are small marzipan rolls filled with custard that are usually eaten on All Saints Day. However, you can still have it on any day even if it is no longer the Halloween season.
Another must-try is the buñuelos de viento, which is a small donut with sugar and cinnamon toppings. The traditional version is usually plain. However, you can now find varieties that have fillings of various flavors. If you are looking for pumpkin-based desserts, try the Spanish pumpkin fritters, also known as “old belly.” This is a relatively new addition to Andalusian cuisine because it used to be a dessert for those in the lower classes. It used to be associated with Latin American immigrants but is now a widely popular treat.
8. Where to shop for Halloween in Malaga?
Shop for Halloween items, costumes, toys, themed decorations, and party supplies from several locations in Malaga. You can also look for typical local souvenirs like local wine, extra-virgin olive oil, hand-painted Andalusian ceramics, decorative Spanish fans, Biznagas (flowers that never wither). Below are some of the most famous spots for Halloween shopping and the best products that you can buy from them:
- – Carrasquilla shop in calle Juan de Padilla and calle Peso de Harina
- – Juguetes Carrion, located downtown in the streets calle Nueva, San Juan and Alarcon Lujan, Marmoles and – Bodegueros
- – Juguetes Mabel found in the station concourse, beside the Vialia shopping center
- – Gato Negro in downtown, along calle Carreteria
- – Jugueterias Poly, located in the Vialia shopping center at Maria Zambrano train station
- – Party Land located in Paseo Reding 47 and in Calle Andromeda 14, in the Jardines del Romeral
9. FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)
1. Does Malaga celebrate Halloween?
Yes. Like most cities in Europe, Malaga also celebrates Halloween and offers various activities for locals and tourists of all age groups. This season is usually celebrated through Halloween-themed parties, tours, trick-or-treating, and costume contests. Other common activities are cemetery visits, spooky tours, group scavenger hunts, food festivals, and workshops.
2. What is the best area to stay in Malaga during Halloween?
For travelers, the best area to stay in Malaga during Halloween is La Malagueta. This is located close to the best restaurants and attractions in the city but is comfortable enough not to be right smack in the middle of the busy activities. However, those who want to experience the local Malaga nightlife should stick to the La Merced area.
3. Is Halloween popular in Spain?
Halloween is popular in Spain, although not exactly for the same reasons in America. For Spaniards, this three-day festival focuses on family-based traditions and practices to honor their departed loved ones. In fact, November 2nd is known as the Day of the Dead and is considered a solemn holiday in Spain.
4. What is on Halloween in Malaga?
During Halloween in Malaga, there are children’s activities in shopping centers, such as workshops for creating scary masks, costume contests, and raffles. Grown-ups, on the other hand, have the option to join Halloween night city tours, street parties, and food festivals in various parts of the province.
5. Are there costume parties in Malaga during Halloween?
Yes. Costume parties are part of the various Halloween activities that take place throughout Malaga. Most of these activities encourage participants to dress up as their favorite Halloween characters while they party, join games, participate in workshops, go on guided night tours, and take part in food festivals. There are also costume parties for various categories, including kids, grown-ups, and families.
6. What do people in Spain call Halloween?
In Spain, the Halloween festival spans three days, with a different name for each day. October 31st is known as Dia de las Brujas (Day of the Witches). November 1st is known as Dia de Todos los Santos (All Saints Day). November 2nd is called Dia de los Muertos/Difuntos (Day of the Dead or All Souls Day).
7. What is the Halloween tradition in southern Spain?
In Southern Spain, there are unique Halloween traditions and activities that range from mundane to spooky, and even outright weird. These include visits to cemeteries, satire street performances in Cadiz, the wine and chestnut festival in Serrania de Ronda, a horror parade in the village of Maro, fun zombie hunting for kids, and candlelit gatherings to “illuminate” the dead in Andalucia.
7. Is October a good month to visit Malaga?
In October, it is early autumn in Malaga and the weather is very warm, with an average high of 24°C and an average low of 16°C. The Halloween festivities begin by the end of October. If this weather is ideal for you and you want to take part in the spooky activities, then October is a good month for you to visit Malaga. You can also read about the best month to visit Malaga to know what the weather is like each month.
8. What clothes to wear in Malaga in October?
Even if it’s early autumn in October, it is still a good time for a dip in the water and to wear clothes for warm weather. So, you can bring your sandals, short pants, summer dresses, and swimsuits during your vacation. Your evening walks might require a light jacket and a light sweater. Going into November, you might want to take a raincoat with you. The recommended clothing items include a sweater, long pants, and closed shoes.
9. Can you walk everywhere in Malaga?
Malaga has earned a 100% score in walkability. If you’re staying in the metro, you won’t need to rent a car to get around. You can easily reach the main tourist attractions in the city center just by walking because they are spread over a concentrated spot. If you easily tire when walking, you can take advantage of the city’s hop-on-hop-off (HOHO) bus service.
10. What is the scariest hike near Malaga?
The El Caminito del Rey (King’s Walkway) is the scariest hike not only in Malaga but also in the world, and not just by Halloween standards. In fact, fearless rock climbers have nicknamed this treacherous place the “Walkway of Death.” It has a suspended walkway that hangs 300 feet above the El Chorro Gorge. Legend has it that the most dangerous construction work here was done by convicts who were condemned to die by the garotte.
Spending Halloween in Malaga will allow you to not only enjoy the festivities of this spooky occasion but will also give you an opportunity to immerse yourself in local culture. No matter what age group you belong to, there will always be a Halloween activity or destination waiting for you. You will surely have a great time with the array of outdoor parties, sceneries, guided tours, and food festivals here in Malaga.
If you are looking for more information on the city, you can take a look at Malaga’s official Tourism website or plan out your transportation route by reading about Malaga’s Metro Lines. Also, you can read about the Best Markets in Malaga or check out the Different Neighborhoods in Malaga to scope out your vacation spots.