Halloween in Portugal: Does Portugal Celebrate Halloween?

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James Cave / Last Updated: June 21, 2022 / Posted in: Culture

Once upon a time, Halloween (or dia das bruxas) wasn’t something that was really celebrated in Portugal. These days, however, you’ll see posters across Lisbon, Porto, and other major cities advertising Halloween Parties and special events. Depending on where you live in Portugal, you may even get a few tick-or-treaters knocking on your door as well.

Obviously, this is all America’s doing. Children in Portugal are simply copying what they see on television and in films, and adopting those customs into Portuguese culture.

Or, maybe they’re not. While it may feel like Halloween is becoming more and more of a big deal in Portugal, the reality is Halloween has actually always existed here in some form or another. You might have to scratch the surface to find these traditions and customs, but they’re definitely there.

Trick-or-treating is probably the tradition that’s most commonly associated with Halloween. In America and in other countries that celebrate Halloween, children go door-to-door begging for sweets, money, and whatever else they can get.

In some part of Portugal, it’s common for children to go door-to-door (especially their relatives’ doors) asking for bread (Pão-por-Deus). They knock and recite a verse like this one:

Ó tia, dá Pão-por-Deus? Se o não tem Dê-lho Deus! 

Pão por Deus, Fiel de Deus, Bolinho no saco, Andai com Deus.

The concept – which has quite a few different names including Dia do Bolinho, santorinho, bolinho, or fiéis de Deus – is essentially trick-or-treating. Children can expect to get pomegranates, cakes, sweets, chestnuts, and walnut and dried fruit biscuits.

Sometimes, the relatives like to pretend that they have nothing to give.

Olha foram-me os ratos ao pote e não me deixaram farelo nem farelote.

(Sorry! The rats ate all of my food)

This is all part of the game, and the children respond with mini threats until the goodies are delivered. This probably sounds quite similar. After all, in America children say:

Trick or treat, smell my feet give me something good to eat.  If you don’t, I don’t care. I’ll pull down your underwear!

Then there’s the pumpkin carving, which is a tradition in certain parts of Portugal like Beira in Northern Portugal. Pumpkins in this part of Portugal are known as coca or coco, and are named after the mythical monster with the same name.

Portugal, especially the northern parts of Portugal, is home to a number of different pagan festivals like Festa da Cabra e do Canhoto in Cidões. Given that a lot of modern day Halloween traditions and beliefs come from other Celtic countries, it’s not surprising that there are a lot of similarities.

But even though Portugal has all of these different Halloween traditions, you could still be forgiven for thinking that Halloween isn’t celebrated here as these traditions are so regional and those regions are so spread out. One tradition you’re likely to spot regardless of where you are in the country, however, is the annual cleaning of the relatives’ cemetery plots which takes place on November 1st.

November 1st, the day of Saints and Martyrs, is a big day in the Portuguese calendar. If you wander past your local cemetery, you’ll find it packed with locals who are all eager to make sure their relatives’ resting places are looking good. Bleach, a Portuguese favourite for just about everything from cleaning to washing vegetables, is the weapon of choice and there’s always a strong smell of it in the air.

Portuguese Graveyard on November 1st
Graveyard in Portimão on November 1st

Outside of the cemetery, you’ll often find flower vendors selling chrysanthemums for the graves, along with a few Portuguese street food vendors selling things like roasted chestnuts and farturas. During the day, and in the evening, you may also spot services taking place in the graveyards.

While it can be hard to find some of Portugal’s other Halloween traditions, this is one that you’ll find just about everywhere in Portugal.



  1. HEY lol idk what am idoing i am 1 years olds and i's loves halleweon!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! hehehehhahahehehdbqw pwpwpwppwpwpw

  2. I know all about Nov 1 because I am Portuguese and I dont believe in them. the Bible warn about it. Even false churches celebrate it but God warned us not to. Obviously those priests and pope are false teaching and they prove not following and obey God's law according to the Bible here:

    Ecclesiastes 9:5-6

    For the living know that they will die, but the dead know nothing, and they have no more reward, for the memory of them is forgotten. Their love and their hate and their envy have already perished, and forever they have no more share in all that is done under the sun.

    Isaiah 8:19

    And when they say to you, “Inquire of the mediums and the necromancers who chirp and mutter,” should not a people inquire of their God? Should they inquire of the dead on behalf of the living?

    Deuteronomy 18:10-11

    There shall not be found among you anyone who burns his son or his daughter as an offering, anyone who practices divination or tells fortunes or interprets omens, or a sorcerer or a charmer or a medium or a necromancer or one who inquires of the dead,

  3. I am in the Quinta do lago area on Friday 1 Nov and Saturday 2. I know the area well.
    We are 6 adults. Are there any good festivals or parties or concerts to go to either night ?Loule, Faro to Albifuera ?
    Any advice appreciated.

    • Hi Jeremy,

      It can be difficult to find out about events happening in the Algarve, and Facebook is usually the best source of information. This link shows you all of the events happening around that area for the dates you've mentioned.

      It's also worth reading through this article: https://www.portugalist.com/algarve-events/

      Get the book Moving to Portugal Made Simple on Amazon now

  4. In the Azores children do not wear any kind of costumes or paintings on faces, they just walk with large bags. No effort is made to dance or to say anything. So we don't open the door. It happemned several times that they tried to steal everything from the front yard and front prch and did steal what they could carry, during a (fucking) halloween! We are not Americans and the door remains shut for such lazy people.


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