Celebrating Halloween in Milan
Halloween, celebrated on October 31 every year, falls on a Monday this year. The following day, November 1st is All Saints Day (Tutti Santi), a bank holiday in Italy. Here are some ideas on how to celebrate the four day weekend!
Most major supermarkets and toys stores such as Toys Center will sell Halloween items; masks, basic costumes and accessories. For adult costumes and hard to find items ranging from wigs, theatrical makeup, fake blood, contact lens, etc. you ‘ll need to go to a specialized store such as Torriani – La Bottega del Carnevale. Located in the Brera area, Torriani has been around since 1943. Probably one of the oldest party stores in Milan, the line is out the door with an average half hour wait just to get in during the week of Halloween. Easy Milano readers benefit from a special 20% discount (download issue here, see ad page 1). For clients spending more than €40, they will reimburse your Area C fee of €5.
Well-kept secret, Atelier Lo Bosco on Corso Venezia 7 offers over 1,000 high quality costumes for rent, ranging from theatrical period costumes, cinema personalities, carnevale, animal mascots and you name it… perfect for any masquerade.
Host a Halloween Party
American icon Martha Stewart, is hands down the queen of Halloween. Her website offers a comprehensive guide on organizing your own Halloween bash.
If you want custom baked treats that will be the talk of the party, book early with Estrele Cakes Award winning English cake designer makes everything from gory themed butter cream cupcakes, cake pops to sugar cookie party favors.
If you live in a building, speak with neighbors ahead of time to find out who will be offering treats. Alternatively be a treat-giver by posting a sign beforehand, inviting neighbors to ring your bell. It’s just as fun to stay at home and receive trick-or-treaters if you are prepared with some tricks up your sleeve! If you don’t have time to set up a haunted house, just turn the lights off and crank up some spooky sound effects.
If you are live in a suburban area surrounded by houses, then you are in luck! Most houses with Halloween decorations displayed on their doors/yard expect trick-or-treaters. I was surprised my first year in the ‘burbs to make out with a huge bag of candy for a short 45 minutes of trick-or-treating. For city dwellers, it’s worth the drive. Ask a suburban friend about Halloween in their neighborhood and if possible plan an evening of trick-or-treating together.
Carve a Pumpkin
Get your pumpkin early before they run out! I remember scouring fruit stands and supermarkets for pumpkins of the right variety and the right size. Most pumpkins I’ve found in the past were toddler size – too small for a jack o’lantern. One year, I special ordered my pumpkin a few weeks ahead of time from my local fruit vendor (he though I was crazy). You can still do this by leaving a small deposit. Fortunately, most major supermarkets now carry la zucca americana, but there are still considered to be a hot item. I usually buy a few extra for friends and host pumpkin carving nights just before Halloween. Be sure to save the flesh to make a pumpkin pie or soups.
Be creative when coming up with a Jack O’lantern design. Don’t be afraid to used different kinds of tools other than a knife. I’ve used wood carving chisels, cookie cutters, a power drill, stencils and paint to achieve different designs.
The pumpkinlady.com offers over 700 free templates.
Tip: To help preserve your jack o’lantern, coat the cut edges with oil to stop moisture from going on. Refrigerate your pumpkin at night or when not on display.
Roast Pumpkin Seeds
Roasted pumpkin seeds is such an easy, delicious and healthy snack. Kids love them too. Here’s how to do it:
Separate the seeds from the gooey flesh of the pumpkin. Rinse and drain. In a bowl, melt a glob of butter and add the seeds. Mix with salt. Spread on a baking sheet and bake at 150°C for 30 minutes or until golden brown.
Tip: Soak the seeds over night in water and salt. Let the seeds dry for an hour before roasting. Try different spices like cajan powder or fennel seeds.
Day trip to Halloween-themed amusement park
Leolandia is an amusement park with rides and miniature Italian landmarks, located in the province of Bergamo, about a 35min car ride from Milan. Celebrate Halloween the entire month of October (until Nov. 13th) with large pumpkin displays and Halloween themed sculptures; witches and wizards parade, Halloween theme shows and a “Halloween town” – all human-size with 40 attractions. Entrance ticket range from €13,50 – €33,50 depending on the day of entrance. Buy tickets ahead of time online for discounted fare.