Haunted Halloween composition featuring the Itaipava Castle in Petrópolis, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. 

Happy Halloween! Every year I try to make at least one composition for this fun holiday, but this year I could not bring myself to pick up the camera. However, since I do have quite a few Halloween compositions I have not shown in this blog, why not dig deep into my Pandora’s box for something especial?

This year I celebrate Halloween with an old image of mine featuring the iconic Itaipava Castle (see details below). Locals had told me that it becomes a haunted around this time of the year in the full moon. On a gloomy October evening of 2016, when I was spending time with family in Itaipava, I headed down to the valley and photographed the castle right when the fog was starting to thicken, and right before the spooky creatures began walking around.

The castle

Not far from “the house” in Brazil, down in the valley, sits the iconic Itaipava Castle. Itaipava is a small neighborhood in the city of Petrópolis, state of Rio de Janeiro. Petrópolis is where the Portuguese Royal family spent their summers when Brazil was a monarchy. High in the mountains, Petrópolis offers cooler temperatures.

The castle was originally built in 1920. It was designed by Lucio Costa, the same architect who planned the city Brasília (capital of Brazil) a few decades later. Baron J. Smith de Vasconcellos orchestrated the construction of the castle, which was undertaken by twenty familie ofs brought from Europe for that purpose.

Built with stones and other materials also brought from Europe, the castle is famous for its renascence style, original materials, and for being the only nomadic medieval castle in the Americas.

The castle now is a privately-owned hotel and restaurant, and events venue. Sometimes, when I am in Brazil, I go there with my family for food and beer. The service is awesome and the view is pleasant. 

I have a larger, print version of the featured image for sale on my Pixels website, along with a few other Halloween compositions. If you are interested, click here. 

And below is a different interpretation on the same theme, from a photo I took about one year later in 2017. Although I also like this version, I did manage to lose the original and the small jpg I was left with is too small to print. A few bats flying would certainly complement this composition below.

Itaipava Castle, 2017


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Published by Alessandra Chaves

Photographer with a preference for nature photography in black and white and other abstractions.

14 thoughts on “Haunted Halloween composition featuring the Itaipava Castle in Petrópolis, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. 

    1. The way we celebrate dia dos mortos, however, is quite different from the Mexican, or the pagan celebration oh Halloween. People go to the cemetery taking flowers, and cry. Brazilians don’t really attach any festivities to death. I recall that I found strange when I learned about the funerals here in which people serve food. In Brazil when one dies the burial happens after a night of “ vigília” when people cry in front of the casket all night, the burial happens within 24 hours. No food. Every event attached to death is kind of somber there. Usually, if one is catholic, a mess after seven days is celebrated, but it’s kind of somber too.


      1. I didn’t know the Mexican and Brazilian attitudes toward that day differ so much. My hypothesis is that the pre-existing cultures had something or a lot to do with it. In the case of Mexico, that would be the Aztecs.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Yes. Perhaps also the Spaniards and the Portuguese also had different traditions. I don’t know. Death in Brazil is like a taboo. No laughing, no jokes, people avoid talking about it. Contrasting with the cynic, humorous culture we have, of laughing about everything else, making jokes, and not taking much seriously. I think it makes things that much harder, because you know, in the end, we all go that route (death).


  1. I just checked the moon; it’s not full tonight, so perhaps there won’t be any Halloween hauntings! Your photos are breath-taking. In this case, black and white certainly was the way to go; the processing heightens the sense of mystery. For me, both photos evoked my all-time favorite television series: PBS’s “Mystery.” The Edward Gorey-like intro sequences are perfect for Halloween.

    Your comments about the role of food at funerals were interesting. When I moved to Texas and learned about Día de los Muertos, it was food that was the connecting point between the practices of my Hispanic friends here and those of my midwestern home. In Iowa, whenever someone died, friends and neighbors began showing up at the house with casseroles, sandwiches, and cakes. After the funeral, there always was a meal, usually at the church. The socializing could go on for hours, and there never was a shortage of food.

    We called November 1 All Souls’ Day (or All Saints’ Day) rather than Día de los Muertos, but it was a time to remember those who had gone before. The night before, ‘All Hallows’ Eve,’ centuries ago turned into ‘Halloween.’


    1. Thank you. The Mystery! Title Sequences is precious. It would be very strange if people showed up with food for the overnight “ vigília” of a dead person. All Saints’ Day (dia de todos os santos) is still celebrated by the Catholics. There’s no celebration in Brazil that I’m aware of but it’s celebrated in Portugal. November’s 2nd is “Dia dos Finados” ( day if the dead). It’s a nacional holiday in Brazil.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. We have a few buildings that are sometimes hinted at as castles but none are really that and certainly cannot compare to this which you are sharing. It’s a magnificent structure.

    Have you looked into Topaz GIgapixel AI or even Lightroom’s Enhance feature? Both are very good at increasing the file size of small images such as your second rendering. Gigapixel might not be worth the expense for one image but Enhance is part of Lightroom. It might do the trick if you do want to enlarge and print the image.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Great photograph and very appropriately creepy! I didn’t know anything about this either – strange that they couldn’t find stone any closer than Europe! Although I guess we get Italian marble in the USA! It is a pity you lost the original of that little image. It is always annoying when you do some work and then accidentally delete (or have a disc failure) and you lose it all!

    Liked by 1 person

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