October 29, 2013

Höstlov and Halloween in Stockholm

This is a special week (October 28th to November 3rd) in Stockholm for several reasons: it is autumn break (höstlov) and children are out of school for the whole week, All Saints' Day is this coming Saturday (Nov 2nd) and, of course, Halloween... an import from the US which has grown in popularity over the past decade.
Photo by Jeppe Wikström, Stockholm Visitors Board.
If you are visiting Stockholm this week with your children then you chose the right week. As it is the autumn break, and Swedish children have vacation, there are plenty of child friendly activities and events. Many of the museums in the city have special events or exhibitions geared especially for children this week, often with more "spooky" themes. For example, Historiska (the history museum) has special tours where children wear headlamps and get to search through certain exhibitions in the dark looking for skulls and treasure. One example of many. If you are staying at the Rival Hotel, and want more specific information of the different museum activities, talk directly with me!
Grim Reaper at Skansen, Photo by Marie Andersson
Another fun place to visit with children this week is the park/square Kungsträdgården. From October 29th to November 1st they will have an activities tent set up (between 11am and 3:30pm) where children can try out different sports, arts & crafts, rock climbing and storytelling. Free admission. At Skansen park & museum they are having "magical days and spooky evenings" all week long with a more historic look at Swedish folklore relating to this season. Good for all ages... but keep in mind that some activities may be scarier than others (like certain ghost walks in the evenings). Another tip is that Drottningholm Palace, which is usually only open on the weekends during this time of year, is open all week long between 11am and 3:30pm. Unfortunately the boats aren't running... but you can take a combination of subway and bus to get there.
This Saturday, November 2nd, is the annual Halloween parade called, appropriately, Shock-holm. This has been going on for a few years and has gotten quite popular. The pre-party is at Medborgarplatsen between 3pm and 5pm, followed by the parade through Gamla Stan and ending at Kungsträdgården where the post party will go on until 7:30pm with live performances, food & drink and activities for all ages. You can either watch or walk in the parade, though the latter requires that you wear a costume/mask of some sort. Free admission!
Skogskyrkogård (c) Susanne Hallmann, Cemeteries Administration of the City of Stockholm
Finally... for a more solemn and cultural activity, head to Skogskyrkogården ("The Woodland Cemetery") to celebrate All Hallow's Eve. This beautiful cemetery is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and was designed by famed Swedish architect Gunnar Asplund. This week is one of the most popular times of the year to visit as thousands of people come to remember loved ones and decorate the graves with candles and seasonal flowers making this special place even more hauntingly beautiful. More information. The main day to visit is Saturday (All Saints' Day), but the decorating does start in the week leading up to Saturday. Keep in mind to be respectful.

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