Halloween is rubbing off on Costa Rica with each passing October. After all, who can resist an opportunity to be creative and get all dressed up for no reason?

Halloween in Costa Rica For Kids

For kids, Halloween is mostly celebrated within certain schools and communities, depending on which area in Costa Rica you live. Beach towns and cities are more likely to celebrate – probably because they have had more exposure to foreigners’ unbridled enthusiasm for the holiday. Kids often go to school dressed up in costumes – often just as intricate and thought-out as any you’d find in the United States – and then attend parties in the early evening to further show off their Halloween garb.

Is there Trick-or-Treating in Costa Rica?


Sort of – but it’s not quite like it is in the United States. Although more and more people are dressing up and going to parties on Halloween, the country as a whole is not so “into it” that you could just knock on any random door with the porch lights on and expect them to give your kids candy. Plus, people here tend to be quite health conscious; not many parents want their kids mawing through a 15-lb bag of stale candy in November.

Trick-or-treating in Costa Rica tends to be staged just for the benefit of kids in specific areas – a group of parents gets together and plan which houses will participate, and then they take their kids to those specific houses. I’ve also seen schools pretend that classroom doors in a hallway are doors to “houses” that the kids knock on. Teachers wait behind the door, armed with candy to disperse when the kids shout “TRICK OR TREAT!!”

Halloween in Costa Rica For Adults

For adults in San Jose and most tourist towns, Halloween is similar to in the US. Everyone dresses in outrageously fun (and often outrageously provocative) costumes to go out for a night of drinking and socializing at the bar or nightclub. Some places offer huge cash prizes of hundreds of dollars, as well as free drinks, gift certificates and other incentives awarded to whoever sports the best costume.

Where to Go Out for Halloween in Tamarindo

These are the hot spots for Halloween parties in Tamarindo this year:

Sharkys: Tonight Sharky’s will transform into the Tamarindo Madhouse, a “psycho-themed” party with 2×1 cocktail happy hour until 9pm. Best costume will win $500 in Sharky’s dollars.

Monkey Bar – Monkey Bar, above the Best Western hotel, is giving away a brand new scooter to the best costume.

Aqua – According to their Facebook page, Aqua is giving out 10 tech prizes to the 10 best costumes including brands like Samsung, Skull Candy and Nuvision. Open bar from 9-11 with free Heineken for the first 200 clients.

Hotel Pasatiempo – Hotel Pasatiempo is giving out a $200 cash prize to the best costume along with tons of prizes from local restaurant. Tico to Go is the MC tonight, so there will be lots of yummy prizes!

Dia de Las Mascaradas

Fun fact: In 1996, the Costa Rican government officially declared Oct 31 the “Dia de las mascaradas,” a day for celebrating the intricate masks Ticos have been making for centuries. These typical masks are made of materials ranging from cardboard to fiberglass, and the nuanced techniques for making them are passed down from generation to generation.

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Blog and photo of family by: Genna Marie of Tamarindo Family Photos

Awesome Santa Photo: photo credit: MattysFlicks via photopin cc