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Halloween: How Norway adopted the American tradition 

Frazer Norwell
Frazer Norwell - [email protected]
Halloween: How Norway adopted the American tradition 
Here's how Halloween is celebrated in Norway. Pictured are two pumpkins decorated for Halloween. Photo by David Menidrey on Unsplash

Over the past few decades, Halloween has surged in popularity in Norway, with trick or treating, parties and dressing in costumes all becoming annual events. 


The end of October is marked by Halloween in many countries across the world, however, the American custom is relatively new in Norway. 

Thanks in part to TV series and movies and the general influence of American culture on the Nordic country, the prominence of Halloween has increased over the past few decades.

Many of the same traditions that exist in other countries, such as dressing up, trick or treating and costume parties, have made their way to Norway. 

‘Knask eller knep’

These days, trick-or-treating is widespread, especially in the cities. It may be harder to organise in much more rural areas where houses are further apart, and families with children may be less frequent. 

Even trick-or-treating doesn’t have much history behind it. The generation born in the 90s (possibly the late 80s) were probably the first children to enjoy trick-or-treating as an annual tradition growing up. 

Trick or treating in Norway works much in the same way as other places. Kids in Norway go from house to house knocking on doors, saying, “knask eller knep?”(trick or treat). 

When it comes to the “trick”, kids don’t actually perform tricks when denied, and it’s unlikely you’ll have your house egged. Some teenagers will choose to egg homes, though, although this is quite rare and arbitrary. 

As trick or treating is a relatively new phenomenon, not every house is expected to participate, and if you don’t wish to open the door, you don’t have to. 


One difference between Norway and other countries is that while decorations are available, not that many people choose to actively decorate the outside of their homes.


Therefore, a home may be open to trick-and-treaters even without decorations. Typically, homes that really don’t want to be disturbed will put up signs or post notices in their neighbourhood/ housing association groups. 

Why this is the case, we aren’t entirely sure. One tongue-in-cheek suggestion would be fear of the local housing association cracking out the rule book on decorations. 

If you are going to a Halloween-themed party or hosting one, there are plenty of interior decorations available. Interior Halloween decorations are also a lot more common. 

Dressing up 

Dressing up is most popular among children and young people. The children will be either trick or treating or heading to Halloween parties. 

Some kindergarten and school classes may choose to have a party where kids dress in costumes and play games, this may be organised by the schools or the parents themselves. 

The other demographic who choose to dress up are people heading to Halloween-themed parties and bar and club nights. 

The night out typically comes the Saturday before Halloween. 


Given how expensive everything else is in Norway, you will be relieved to know that most people tend to keep the costumes relatively straightforward. 

They will either use something they have from their wardrobe and combine it with something else or some makeup to make a costume, or they will opt for a relatively inexpensive costume from a party store. 

Some still choose to push the boat out and go all in. The costumes are a mix of Halloween classics and pop culture-inspired outfits, meaning you are just as likely to encounter Tony Soprano or a Jedi knight as you are, Freddy Kruger or a werewolf. 


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