With Halloween just around the corner, we look at some of Malaga’s spookiest sites. Are you ready to be chilled to the bone?
Halloween in Malaga unfolds as a captivating blend of spine-tingling and entertaining events spanning three days. It commences with Dia de las Brujas (Day of the Witches) on October 31st, followed by Dia de Todos los Santos (All Saints Day) on November 1st, and culminates with Dia de los Muertos/Difuntos (Day of the Dead or All Souls Day) on November 2nd.
A cherished tradition among local families during Malaga’s Halloween festivities is the pilgrimage to the gravesites of their departed loved ones. Gathered around these sacred resting places, they engage in the tender rituals of cleaning, adorning with vibrant blooms, and offering heartfelt prayers. For those seeking a particularly hair-raising experience, the following two cemeteries are renowned for their eerie reputation.
San Miguel Cemetery
To immerse oneself fully in the eerie ambiance of Halloween in Malaga, embarking on a guided night tour of the historical San Miguel cemetery is a compelling choice. This 19th-century necropolis lies in the northern part of the city and boasts an array of striking crypts and mausoleums. Among its occupants are some of Malaga’s most illustrious bourgeoisie figures. Since 1986, this cemetery has ceased to accept new burials, giving way to the creation of a sprawling park, Parque de San Miguel, in its vicinity.
Legend has it that the restless spirit of American author Jane Bowles roams the cemetery grounds. Jane, who succumbed to tuberculosis in May 1973, continues to receive offerings and tokens of admiration from her friends and devotees on the anniversary of her passing. Additionally, visitors have recounted spine-chilling encounters with a ghostly figure shrouded in monastic attire, bearing a striking resemblance to the late parish priest, Don Eliseo, who departed in the early months of 1946.
The English Cemetery, known as Cementerio Ingles holds the distinction of being Spain’s first non-Catholic burial ground, dating back to 1840. This serene locale, once graced by an enchanting seaside garden, was a favoured spot for English citizens to partake in their afternoon tea.
It is worth noting that non-Catholics were required to be interred in the sand until official permission was granted for the transformation of this land into a cemetery. Notable highlights within this burial ground include tombs entirely adorned with pristine white shells.
Among the cemetery’s early occupants is Robert Boyd, a young man executed in 1831 for his role in the fight for freedom. Other noteworthy individuals resting here include German film star Renate Brausewetter, Swedish consul Johan Bolin, and General Torrijos.
Basilica de Santa Maria de la Victoria
Located just beyond the boundaries of Malaga’s historic district, the Basilica of Santa Maria de la Victoria is home to a remarkable crypt adorned from ceiling to floor with whimsically macabre depictions of skeletons and cherubs.
The structure was erected on the very spot where King Ferdinand reclaimed the city in 1487, but the current building dates back to the late 17th century. Also referred to as the Pantheon of the Counts of Buenavista, the crypt’s walls boast an exceptionally dramatic white-on-black baroque plasterwork style, creating an intensely dramatic atmosphere within the room.
The tower symbolising heaven is truly awe-inspiring in its sheer ornate splendour, featuring a rare portrayal of a heavily pregnant Madonna.
Halloween Treats – the sweet side!
Indulging in traditional fare is an integral part of any festive celebration, and Halloween in Malaga is no exception. Throughout the city, you’ll encounter an array of seasonal delicacies offered by street vendors. Particularly for those with a sweet tooth, the options are bound to satiate your sugar cravings, allowing you to sample an assortment of delectable treats.
Among the Halloween specialties, you’ll find a medley of delights, such as roasted chestnuts, Spanish sweet potatoes, bite-sized leche frita (fried milk) morsels, dulce de membrillo (sweet quince paste), and Pestiños (honey-glazed fritters). “Saint’s Bones” (Huesos de Santo) stand out as one of the most beloved among these specialties. These petite marzipan rolls are generously filled with creamy custard and are traditionally savoured on All Saints Day. However, you need not restrict yourself to this treat solely during the Halloween season; they are available year-round.
Another delicious gem you mustn’t miss is the buñuelos de viento, delectable small doughnuts sprinkled with sugar and cinnamon.