By Nelson Groom
As the rest of the world scrambles to find the perfect Halloween costume, there’s one place where celebrants dress like any other day.
Welcome to Dracula’s Castle, otherwise known as Bran Castle, where Romanian ‘real-life vampires’ have converged in their everyday black-clad attire on the eve of the pagan event.
Halloween is a week-long celebration in Transylvania, but the night before a select few members of a coven of night-feeders meet to mark the occasion with a blood-drenched dinner.
‘Ordo Dracul’ leader Andreas Bathory, who dwells on the sprawling castle estate, opened a window into the night of blood-drinking and offerings to the souls of the dead.
Andreas said: “I dress as I always do on Halloween, this doesn’t change for anybody: I’m always attired as a true vampire.
“Halloween here is a fun time, but it’s also a celebration of the afterlife, so it’s the most important time of the year.
“Our special party started with a dark, sexy, bloody dinner with plenty of nutritious cuisine.
“For desert, a special funeral cake offering to the souls of the dead in order to help them in their passage from this world to the one below.
“After that, we spent the night roaming the catacombs of the Castle, communing with the spirits and celebrating the ritual darkness of the night and the moon.”
Bathory is now the elected leader of the Ordo Dracul coven, a blood-sucking group that claims to have been formed when Dracula was assassinated in 1476.
Instead of lunging on victims and biting into their necks, he says the group has donors he labels “black swans” who willingly offer up their blood.
So plentiful are these volunteers, the vampire lord says he never has to seek them out himself and simply lets the flock come to him.
And Halloween is no exception, with an epic feast planned for the official night – just don’t expect to see any trick or treaters.
Andreas said: “Halloween in Transylvania is not celebrated like the rest of the world, there are no trick or treaters.
“Here, it is a time to gather in cemeteries and make offerings upon the graves of the fallen.
“My Coven gathers to take part in the bloody feasting and other rituals and preserve ancient traditions.
“Halloween is the day when the veil between the living and the dead is at its thinnest, so we can best commune with the spirits.”