Over 200 addresses have been added to a custom-made trick-or-treating Google Map. Two Facebook groups have led the charge in organising the Halloween tradition among locals.
Inspired by the Facebook group Hrekkjavaka í 107 & 101 Vesturbær (Halloween in 107 & 101 West Reykjavík), Jonas Moody – who is originally from the US – founded the group Hrekkjavaka í 101 (Halloween in 101) last year. The group aims to help organise Halloween for kids in downtown Reykjavík. Those interested can request to join the group and sign up to have their homes designated on a custom Google Map. Families can then use the map when taking their kids trick-or-treating. The official trick-or-treat window is open between 17 and 19 today.
Last year, Moody modernised the trick-or-treat initiative by introducing the custom Google Map, which the group Hrekkjavaka í 107 & 101 Vesturbær has since adopted (the two maps have since been consolidated).
“Trick-or-treating is difficult in Iceland because it isn’t a well-established tradition; you can’t really go house to house,” Moody says. “There was some pushback against Halloween in Iceland, initially. But not so much anymore. Icelanders love dressing up. Icelanders are a candy-loving people. It’s a lot of fun for the kids.”
Moody plans on updating the map for the final time at 14 o’clock today: “Icelanders don’t want to commit until the very last moment. Last year, 15 or so houses were added to the map just before 13 o’clock.”
Halloween is an annual celebration observed on October 31st and tracing its roots to ancient Celtic harvest festivals. Although Halloween has not been traditionally observed in Iceland – Icelanders have only relatively recently adopted the tradition from America – Terry Gunnell, professor of sociology at the University of Iceland, has argued that a heathen festival similar to Halloween was observed in pre-Christian Iceland; during this so-called Winter Nights Festival, Icelanders worshipped female wights (vættir, i.e. supernatural beings) that were, in Gunnell’s words: “terrible, blood-thirsty, and heavily armed.”
As Iceland Review reported last year, carving pumpkins for Halloween is also becoming a growing trend in Iceland.