Happy Halloween! Maybe you already celebrated with a costume party this weekend, but there is still time to enjoy the magic of this holiday today with a Norwegian twist!
Halloween is a relatively new phenomenon in Norway. Rumor has it that Donald Duck comics were the first to expose Norwegian children to the tradition and their interest rapidly grew from there. Now it is quite common in Oslo to see shops selling pumpkins for carving into jack o’ lanterns, orange and black party decorations and troops of kindergarteners dressed up in adorable costumes.
Want to get in on the fun? Here are some tips for making the most of Halloween in Oslo:
Trick or Treating
Trick-or-treating is every kids’ favorite Halloween tradition. Children wear costumes and go from house to house saying “trick of treat!” to ask for treats like small candies. Norwegian kids say “knask eller knep” or “digg eller deng” which are more or less equivalent to the English phrase. Theoretically, if no candy is provided, a “trick” (some kind of mild mischief, like throwing toilet paper over the bushes) occurs, but this is rarely practiced. Really, you’re just likely to end up with stoop full of very disappointed children. So, if you live in a child-friendly neighborhood, be sure to stock up your candy jar before this evening!
If it’s the spooky part of Halloween that excites you, consider going on a ghost walk of Oslo tonight. Legend has it that during Halloween the veil between the living and the dead is weak so ghost sightings are much more likely. Oslo is more than 1000 years old and its history is filled Vikings duels and bloody battles with the neighboring countries—prime conditions for ghosts. Oslo City and Nature Walks provides an English-led tour through the historic streets of old Christiania and Akershus fortress.
The walk starts tonight at 19:00 at Christiania Torv (next to Kafe Celsius) and lasts 1.5 to 2 hours. No need to make a reservation—tickets (100 NOK for students) are purchased directly from the guide (cash only!).
Vår Frelsers Gravlund
If you’re too busy studying for the full ghost tour, perhaps just try spotting some on your own at Var Frelsers Gravlund. This atmospheric old cemetery was founded in 1808 to accommodate citizens that were dying from plagues, famines and pestilence as a result of the Napoleonic Wars and continued to be expanded until 1952. Lots of famous Norwegian poets, artists and politicians are buried here including, Henrik Ibsen, Edvard Munch, Ole Olsen, Henrik Wergeland, Bjørnstjerne Bjørnson, Richard Nordrak, Christian Krogh and Alf Prøysen. Ghosts or not, it’s a gorgeous location for a late fall walk.
Haunted Mines at Grua
About one-hour outside of Oslo lies an unexpected Halloween treat—the spooky, subterranean galleries of the Nyseter mines are turned into an unusual haunted “house.” These important iron and zinc mines were first discovered in 1888 and operated until 1927. Now they lay empty…except for on Halloween! Be prepared for a steep uphill hike to reach the mines and then for the interior to be cold, wet and dark. Bring warm clothes, a bike helmet and a flashlight with you.
Tickets (100 NOK) are sold from 18:00 to 19:00 behind Hadeland Bruktbil in Grua. Grua can be reached by car or via train from Oslo S. Children are welcome.
Party like it’s Halloween 2017!
Even if you’ve already celebrated this past weekend, don’t let Halloween falling on a Tuesday stop you putting that costume back on for one more celebratory drink. Venues across the city are planning creative, festive gatherings tonight.
(And if you really, really have to study, maybe just get in the spirit by sampling some fun Norwegian candies while you read).
Have fun and be safe out there!
(Munch’s “The Scream” jack o’ lantern image from: http://www.maniacpumpkincarvers.com/works-of-art/)