November 1, 2018

This Halloween Weekend in Stockholm

While this is generally a bit of a slower period in Stockholm, between the busy summer and Christmas periods, this coming weekend is filled with events. This is because of Halloween, All Saint's Day and "höstlov" (the autumn school break for children) all fall on this week/weekend. Besides the events listed below, keep in mind that many museums in Stockholm will have special activities set up for children.
Halloween is a relatively new concept to Sweden, at least the Americanized version with ghosts, goblins and trick & treating. But Swedes have taken a liking to this holiday and it is growing in popularity, so don't be surprised to see people dressed up in costumes this week. While Halloween is always on October 31st in the U.S., it is more vague here in Sweden with people generally celebrating on the closest weekend (but not even that is set in stone).
Press image from Shockholm
A large annual Halloween event is Shockholm (see the play on words?), Scandinavia's biggest Halloween parade. This happens on Saturday, November 3rd, starting with opening ceremonies, costume competition and live performances in Kungsträdgården park from 3:30pm to 5pm. The parade then starts and snakes its way through Gamla Stan for about an hour before arriving back at Kungsträdgården for the award ceremonies.
Press image from Shockholm
Some more spooky stuff... our big amusement park Gröna Lund, which is usually just open in the summer months, is open this week for the children on their autumn break. For Halloween they have some scary attractions, including several haunted houses! Gröna Lund is located on Djurgården, near many of the other main attractions like the Vasa and ABBA museums and Skansen, so you can easily combine them.
Halloween at Gröna Lund
Photo by Johan Gramén 
Besides the spooky stuff, this is also a season of reflection and darkness. All Saint's Day is on Saturday, November 3rd. A popular activity this weekend for Swedes is to visit the graves of departed loved ones and light candles. The best place to experience this hauntingly beautiful tradition is the Woodland Cemetery (Skogskyrkogården), which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. More information. Be respectful of people visiting graves!
All Saints' Day at Skogskyrkogården
Photo by Susanne Hallman
November is a dark month... the days get shorter and neither snow nor Christmas lights have come yet. It is important for Swedes to get some light in their lives this time of year, so perhaps it isn't strange that we have a Light Festival! The festival takes place around the shores of the lake Brunnsviken, just on the northern outskirts of the city, on Sunday, November 4th. There will be six torchlight processions, live music from choirs, string quartets and more... all starting at 3:40pm. It is very beautiful with the torches lit all around the lake! See link above for more detailed information.
Light Festival at Brunnsviken (2017)
Photo by Ronny Fors

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