Halloween is a relatively recent addition to the flora of holidays and celebrations in Iceland. The holiday stems from the Catholic tradition of All Saint’s Day, a day of remembering the dead, which possibly stems from the Gaelic holiday of Samhain. In general, the Icelandic equivalent of Halloween is Öskudagur, but in recent years the new holiday has been making inroads here.
Halloween became popular in the US under the influence of Irish and Scottish immigrants, and then via the cultural imperialism of Hollywood movies, it has gained popularity around the world.
Since then, the religious roots of the holiday have been mostly washed away. It seems that these days, Halloween in Iceland at least has mostly become an excuse for costumes, candy and, for the grownups: drunken debauchery (With colourful costumes!)
It seems most places downtown have a theme party on Halloween in Iceland. October 31st falls on an Saturday this year, so you can expect an especially crazy turnout.
Over recent years, Halloween Iceland has established itself as a major annual halloween party event. This year the party takes place at Gaukurinn, where they will have their huge costume party. Cool prizes for the best costumes, and un-costumed people are not allowed to enter. The theme will be pretty hardcore, with metal-DJ Mobus supplying the mood music.
For those who aren’t that ‘gothy’, the American Bar is planning a big Halloween party, as you might expect for an American-themed bar. The place will be decorated high and low, and there will be an award for the best costume, live acts and more.
For the more “Duderific,” Lebowski bar is rumoured to be planning an awesome Halloween party as well.
And finally the local arthouse cinema, Bíó Paradís, is planning one of their “Black Sundays” screenings, so keep your eyes peeled for that!
But these are just a few examples, part of the beauty of Reykjavík is that all the nightlife is in one place, so you can just show up downtown after the witching hour or midnight and follow your ears to the right place for you.