Halloween is a massive phenomenon in America. Even as adults, we can all get behind a boozy costume party. These days the rest of the world is joining in on the fun!
With a huge American expat population here in Prague, there are loads of people headed to costume parties. I've seen all sorts of characters on the trams this week. Czech locals are used to it by now and don't even blink an eye. It's been amazing teaching online this week! My students in China appear in class in costume. A few Elsas, a fairy, and even an alien. They're all so excited to learn about trick-or-treating.
Spark your Halloween spirit with these spooky destinations all around Europe!
The Sedlec Ossuary, otherwise known as the "bone church," is one of the most curious places to visit in the Czech Republic. Just 45 minutes by train from Prague, this eerie sanctuary makes for the perfect day trip. Inside you'll find the remains of over 40,000 people who perished in the plague in 1318. It's believed that in the 1800s, after the cemetery was closed, one man decided to arrange the bones into pyramids, chandeliers, and even a coat of arms. Look closely at the detail, you'll be surprised by what you find - skulls, femurs, finger bones, and even teeth.
I don't know about you, but I have this bizarre fascination with abandoned places. Hotel Belvedere is one of those off-track spots you'll only find if you know about it from a local. The five star resort was only active for a six years before it was abandoned during the Croatian War of Independence.
Nowadays, you'll only find remnants of this once thriving resort: concierge coats left in hallways, a kids club hauntingly quiet, and server's notepads scattered across the kitchen floor. I could not get over the extreme contrast - striking ocean views through broken windows and peeling paint. Fun fact: the amphitheater on sea was used as a filming location for the HBO hit Game of Thrones!
Spend a night in jail - by choice! Welcome to Hostel Celica in Slovenia's hipster capital, Ljubljana. The building that once served as a political prison for over 100 years, separating those with different beliefs, is now fully transformed into a creative space for world travelers to meet. Each cell has been reimagined and designed by a different local artist. We stayed in the "Russian Cell" where you'll notice tick marks on the wall, said to represent the passing of time as prisoners waiting to be set free. It's not all spooky though! The hostel's got an incredible social scene and you can explore the rest of the former military complex, Metelkova, just outside. You'll find an alternative cultural center with galleries, local music events, and plenty of amazing street art. Talk about the ultimate way to spend Halloween night!
Bran Castle, commonly referred to as Dracula's Castle, is tucked away in the stunning mountains of Transylvania in Romania. Although Dracula is a fictional character, stemming from Bram Stoker's 1897 classic, many find parallels to 'Vlad the Impaler,' a fierce warrior in Romanian history. In fact, Bran castle is the only one in the world that fits Stoker's description of Dracula's castle: ". . . on the very edge of a terrific precipice . . . with occasionally a deep rift where there is a chasm [with] silver threads where the rivers wind in deep gorges through the forests.” You can visit this chilling place yourself, as it makes for a perfect overnight or day trip from Bucharest.