I heard this on a radio station I listen to from time to time online. I used to listen to this station all the time when I lived in a Philadelphia suburb, and I miss it still, sometimes.
Anyway, the French think that Halloween is too American, too commercial. Well, duh!!! It’s all and ONLY about commercial! I know all about the All Hallow’s Eve thing; I am, after all, a convert to Catholicism and I get the whole All Saints’ Day connection, but come on, even the Catholic church today doesn’t emphasize the EVE of All Saints’ Day.
It’s about the candy and the kids, folks! Deal with it.
We lived in Germany for two years and I got a call from a German woman who wanted to find out how Halloween was celebrated so her students could do it right. She asked me about “that fruit” we eat on Halloween. Some questions from me led me to understand she meant PUMPKIN!
Then came the whole “Trick or Treat” part.
“There is that thing you say.”
“Trick or Treat.”
“What does it mean?”
“Um, well, this is what it used to mean, but it doesn’t really mean anything now.”
She didn’t get it, and when we hung up, I got the impression that she thought I was the dumbest person in America.
It was that conversation and much more about German Halloween that made me stop worrying about the connection between 31 Oct and Satanism (not that I ever was worried). I mean, if it were about Satanism, as some Christians want to believe, wouldn’t it be about that all over the world? Satanism and paganism are not just in the US, gang. If it were a pagan thing here, wouldn’t it be a pagan thing in Europe, which is less Christian than the US.
My daughter was invited to a “Halloween” party given by the city of Potsdam and it was the strangest experience either of us ever had. First off, they had pumpkin soup for all the kids to enjoy. Not bobbing for apples or apples of any kind. Pumpkin soup.
It was held on a theater ship so when they did face painting, it was FACE PAINTING and a little scary, actually. I think my daughter ended up looking like a skeleton. Then they put this straw figure in a rowboat, set it on fire and set it adrift on the river.
My daughter was a little frightened by this and grabbed my hand and said, “What is it, Mommy?” She was about 7 or 8.
“It’s the traditional American custom. The burning of the straw witch.”
“But, Mom, we don’t…”
“I know, dear. This is what the Germans think we do.”
Then they took the kids “Trick or treating,” except they were given a poem to read. A poem, about 8 lines long, and they took the kids to an apartment building. A friend of ours who is German but lived in the US for 15 years told me that this apartment houses elderly Germans who lived there during the Iron Curtain, Commie Time and you expect them to open their doors to a bunch of kids painted to look like skeletons??? Needless to say, Juliette didn’t get much candy that night.
Stop worrying about evil spirits and pass the chocolate/peanut butter candy, please!