From trick-or-treating kids to pumpkin-spiced lattes, Halloween is now a part of modern Norwegian culture.
07.October 2022 Elianne Strøm Topstad

Halloween have become more popular in Norway in recent years. It took a long time to happen, but American-style Halloween have finally made it to Norway.

Thanks in part to TV series and movies, the trend of celebrating Halloween began in Norway around twenty years ago, but it has only really taken off in the last five or ten years.Yet despite the odd special display made by toy shops decorations do remain low-key. This is a philosophy you'll also find in residential areas. While in America many families spend incredible amounts of time decorating their homes for the occasion, the most a Norwegian household may do is put out a carved pumpkin and a candle in the window. If they really push the boat out, perhaps there'll be a toy bat or two hanging in the doorway!


Throughout October, stores stock up on anything ghostly and ghoulish, anything orange and black and especially items shaped like a pumpkin, and of course, bags of candy.

Knask eller knep
One of the concepts that has taken a hold is trick-or-treating, but with a Norwegian flavour. Children are generally accompanied by their parents and it is a very friendly neighbourhood experience. Depending on where in Norway you are, you're likely to hear “knask eller knep” or “digg eller deng”.

Another popular activity for older generations is to hold a house party, often with a fancy dress theme. This normally takes place on the weekend before Halloween rather than the evening itself, so it's not uncommon to see buses filled with made-up party-goers on the Friday or Saturday evening.

The origins of Halloween
Halloween as we know it today is a relatively modern phenomenon, but it does have ancient roots.All Hallows’ Eve' originated long ago in British Isles. It was believed that spirits of the dead roamed the planet on the last night of October, intent on ruining the harvest.

Children didn't hassle their neighbours for candy. Instead, people set big fires on hills, carved faces into turnips to ward off spirits, and even dressed in costumes to disguise themselves.

In the world of Christianity, All Hallows' Eve is the night before All Saints' Day. Children went door-to-door asking for food, and in exchange they promised to pray for the souls of the dead.

While the spooky costumes, trick-or-treat, and carving pumpkins all have their origins in history, the modern interpretation of them as a fun celebration began in the USA. The excitement and status of the celebration has grown with time. As with many other aspects of American culture, it has since spread around the world.


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