The Definitive Halloween Party Guide

Between carnival (whose organizing associations long opposed any other major costume festivity) and Saint Martin (the holiday in which German children wander the neighborhoods collecting sweets), Halloween never stood a chance in Germany. But then came the Iraq war in 1991 -- and the cancellation of most carnival festivities. Sascha Schnitzer, who writes for „”, the leading Halloween blog in Germany, believes this turn of events (and the resulting need for costume vendors to find another opportunity to sell their wares) was the trigger that launched Halloween onto the German social calendar. Now, twenty years later, the Association of German Sweets Industry ranks Halloween as the 3rd most important holiday after Christmas and Easter -- already putting it ahead of carnival.

Though ostensibly a holiday for children, everyone knows adults love to play dress up and scare one another silly. As such, a number of wild and wonderful public parties have risen up to honor the occasion. Men’s Life Today scoured the country to bring you the very best.

Halloween Burg Frankenstein, Frankenstein Castle

The most popular event, attracting upwards of 2,500 revelers, is in the so-called “real home of the monster,” close to Frankfurt. Says Walter Scheele, clerk of the centuries-old castle (it was first mentioned in 948), “The role model for the main character of the novel Frankenstein lived here 330 years ago. That’s proven.” And who are we to dispute it, especially when the festivities are so fabulously frightening? Ninety-nine monsters, including werewolves, vampires and witches, scour the property scaring guests, while sea monsters slither their way through the castle lake. “Don’t be afraid if a scarecrow talks to you,” says Scheele. “That’s normal.”

Halloween 2010 in Europa Park, Rust

Halloween at Europa Park, Germany’s biggest leisure park (close to the German-Swiss border), lasts a full month. From October 1, the park is decorated like a witches’ cauldron, with more than 150.000 pumpkins, 6000 corn plants and 2000 straw bales, plus skeletons and high-tech special effects. Though many of the events are designed for kids, there are adult programs too. Our favorites are a dancing show with eye-popping pyrotechnical effects called “DJ BoBo’s Fantasy Goes Halloween” and “Terenzi Horror Nights,” during which seven main attractions in the leisure park -- including a rollercoaster in the dark, a circus with daemonic creatures, and a “labyrinth of horror” -- are dedicated to Halloween.

The Beiß Mich Party, Hamburg

If getting the wits scared out of you is not your thing, then this is the party for you. The only creepy aspect is the location: a 130-year-old dark and eerie vault inside the town hall. The party itself is elegant, so wear a sophisticated costume. Photographers stationed at the entrance shoot all guests in costume and post images to the website. The best costumes -- determined by online voting after the event -- win prizes.

Your Own Party
While you may not have the budget for rollercoasters and sea monsters, you can still organize a pretty great party on your own. The older and gloomier the room the better, but regardless of the venue, decorate it with jack-o-lanterns, artificial cobwebs, plastic skeletons and the like. Schnitzer recommends special effects like black light, and suitable background music like “Rocky Horror Picture Show”. Continue the Halloween theme with the buffet: Put plastic spiders between the plates, prepare a salad in a carved pumpkin, toss a few fake eyeballs on the table. And the drinks? That one’s easy: Bloody Mary’s, of course.