What do you do when you move country and you really miss something from home? Well, you introduce it to your new country of course. That’s what Bill Schacht did with Halloween, he created Shockholm – Sandinavia’s largest Halloween parade.
Halloween is a relatively new addition to Sweden’s yearly celebrations. This tradition is best known for the American-style pumpkin decorations and trick or treat customs, both of which Swedes have also adopted. Mostly celebrated by children and teenagers attending local costume parties and hitting up neighbours for trick or treat candy.
Bill is a Creative Director and has been in Stockholm for close to 10 years now. Soon after his arrival he realised that there wasn’t quite enough celebration to mark his favourite holiday. There were certainly no Halloween parties here and there but nothing at all like what we see now. Finally, in 2011 the idea for Shockholm was born.
I’m here for the same old story, the weather! No, of course, it was a Swedish woman, hard to deny.
Bill approached the city council and asked if he could produce a Halloween parade. Over 1,000 people turned up the first year, and now in it’s fourth year it’s numbers double in size each year. He is very happy to have this little piece of New York – a Halloween Parade – here now too!
I missed both the holiday and the parade which came with it which was special to me – second best holiday all year, in fact. In some ways, better than Christmas, as far as creative went.
The 2013 event provided entertainment including an exhibition at the City Museum, Sweden’s Largest Fishing Pond, fueled with 1,000 kilos of Karamellkungen candy, a roster of talent, SpongeBob & Patrick, torches, a Mummy Mobile, a happy Cooperation with Project Playground & Maskrosbarn more.
I see quite a few areas where Stockholm and Sweden are truly world class, and, a goal for us is to grow Shockholm into a world class event the way Rio’s Karnival or Mardi Gras is.
So, what’s in store for this year?
Herr Storpumpa kicked off the Shockholm week with his arrival on 23rd October. If you haven’t seen him yet… find a viewpoint of the Ericsson Globe and wave hello.
So how do you get approval to turn a prominent skyline building in Stockholm into a large pumpkin…? You keep asking. This was a three year process with many twists along the way.
…the key moment was when the decision went all the way up to the top at Stadshuset, who took the brave decision to approve Herr Storpumpa’s monster visa!
Herr Storpumpa took Bill and his team, plus 14 repellers, 14 hours to build. Join in the spirit of the event by photographing Herr Storpumpa and posting your photos to Instagram #herrstorpumpa or just post to the Shockholm Facebook page! You can see great pictures of him already on the website, the largest Halloween Pumpkin in the world!
There is a ‘making of’ Herr Storpumpa in the Shockholm : Exhibition at Hallwylska Museet where you can get more details if you are interested.
This year, for the first time ever, Shockholm Park will run for three days (Oct 30, 31 and Nov 1) in Kungsträdgården. Three days of Halloween fun including workshops (costume, mask, puppet & music) and activities such as pumpkin carving, a ‘speak pirate’ station, feed the ghosts, hula jump, wall climbing, and on saturday, some costume completing workshops.
We also have our first ever Halloween Pop Up Shop there, including hard to find lakrits & salmiak imported from Iceland
The Shockholm Exhibition is already underway and runs for 10 days from 23rd October to 2nd November. Held at the legendary Hallwyllska Museum, just a few blocks from Kungsträdgården, there is an incredible list of art and artists on board this year.
Shockholm Bites is a themed food initiative, which was a big success last year. Chefs are challenged to create a unique dish they would not likely have on the menu. All good festivals have their sights, sounds and tastes, so, in the case of Shockholm, you can check in to any participating eatery during the events period to take a bite out of Shockholm! Participating restaurants are 19 Glas, Miss Voon, Hard Rock Cafe and Engelen!
The Shockholm Halloween Parade is the crown jewel. Kicking off around 15:30 at Kungsträdgården on Saturday 1st November, with prizes for Best Costume. Join the parade and walk together along the street towards the Royal Castle, make a right and begin the journey encircling a colorfully haunted Old Town (Gamla Stan), to Slussen, then back on Skeppsbron, over the bridge and back to Kungsträdgården.
The motto for Shockholm is ‘for us, by us’ and Bill and his team are thrilled to have grown with so many co-creators since 2011. Anyone can contribute, whether it be an activity in Shockholm Park, a piece in the exhibition, a float in the parade or other creation.
Shockholm is a Swedish registered ‘ideel foreningen’ non profit made possible with countless support from incredible partners, sponsors, institutions, organisations, schools and of course individuals. The Parade and associated events are run by volunteers. Like-minded people who really care about bringing this fun and creative holiday to people.
We hope to be as big and impactful as The Water Festival was or Pride Stockholm is with our own unique focus on extreme creativity, social interaction and charity. The co-creating participatory element is also important and special—our motto is ‘for us, by us’ and we mean that. It is some 50 or more people now who make Shockholm what it is.
Simply attend if you wish, BUT, if you have an idea for an activity, workshop, installation, or, want to build your own float for the Shockholm Halloween parade get in touch with Bill and the team. If you want to help out as a volunteer: [email protected]
If you’re not the creative type, then just put on your scariest costume and bring candy to share!