Monday, November 1, 2010

Happy Halloween!

...Or maybe not...

[crickets chirping]

Wait. What's that, you say?

[crickets chirp out explanation]

You say that Halloween was yesterday? Huh. Are you sure about that?

[Crickets: "We're sure. Check your calendar, lady."]

*Looks at calendar, sees that today is the first of November*

Oh. It was. [sheepish chuckle from blogger]

[Crickets raise eyebrows and give said blogger a rather reprimanding look]

What? Don't look at me like that! It's not my fault that I totally forgot about Halloween!

I mean, I actually have a plausible excuse for not remembering Halloween. I'm now in a country that shows a significant lack of enthusiasm, even apathy, for the event. I honestly wouldn't have been able to assume that something was supposed to have happened yesterday.

NO ONE asked me what I was planning to wear for Halloween.

NO ONE bothered to compare their costume to mine, probably they didn't have one in the first place.

In fact, the only thing that truly suggested that Halloween was just around the corner were certain chocolate stores that wanted to profit off the occasion.

This is the window display of a store in the Centre Ville:

Okay, okay. I admit that this should have been a big, fat hint that Halloween was going to happen soon. Yet...not every store relished in decorating their shops with black cats, Jack O' Lanterns and ghosts. It's almost as if Halloween was strictly limited to just candy shops and Carrefour.

I decided to ask a French friend about it. His response?

You can't really argue with a Frenchman's logic. In France, Halloween is the day that some kids to dress up in scary costumes and demand for candies and treats (des bonbons). Unlike in the States where you can dress up in anything that strikes your fancy, the kids disguise themselves in things they consider scary; you are more likely to find a little Frenchgirl dressed up as a witch than a cutesy ballerina in a pink costume. You'll also have a hard time finding a French 20-something dressed up in the typical coquettish costumes adults prefer (at least on Halloween, anyway).

(And before I get accused of being a Candy Corn Witch hater: I admit that this is the costume I have secretly wanted to wear for years. I haven't tried it out because I honestly wouldn't "rock it." Trust me on this.)

Even though France isn't serious about Halloween that doesn't mean that you shouldn't be prepared in case a group of costumed children do knock on your door. The last thing you want to do is to give off "no-candy douchebag" vibes to a bunch of little kids. My roommate was smart enough to purchase a large bag of candies. Our doorbell was rung only ONCE. My roommate and I are now the proud owners of a large bowl of candies...

But wait. Today's November first. And quite a few shops are closed!
*rechecks calendar*
Aujourd'hui est la Toussaint!

In la Belle France, the citizens take part in the decidely more la Toussaint (All Saint's Day). It's a day that is rooted in being part religious, part tradition, but mostly respect. Today, a good number of Frenchmen and Frenchwomen will visit the cemetaries where their deceased relatives are buried and pay their respects to them by placing a bouquet of flowers on their graves. Despite being a secular country, France sure enjoys their religious events. To the best of my knowledge, no one in my family is buried over here so la Toussaint is pretty much means another day off for me.
So...I guess I will wish you all a respectful la Toussaint?
Barb the French Bean


  1. You can stay home and have all the candies for yourself!

  2. Ha!! I bet you could rock that Candy Corn Witch like nobody's business! :)

  3. Llarge bowl of candies WIN!

    Halloween is not really that big in Holland either (but from what you have said I think it is a little bigger than in France). I didn't know this the first time I went to a Halloween party over here and spent an hour and half sitting on a train by myself dressed as a disfigure serial killer covered in blood. I got a lot of strange looks.

  4. Well, here in America...while I was giving out candy YESTERDAY, the kids seemed almost non-existent. SO maybe it is spreading to the US too.

    Sad really.

  5. Amy: It's not a bad idea...except I'm trying to lose weight. >.<

    Tricia: Once I reach my Shakira-hotness goal, I probably could! ;-)

    Stu: I checked out your link. If the Dutch were horrified by your costume, then I can only imagine how French reaction to it. o_O"

    Amber: Hm. It's a possibility as well...but I'm sure the U.S. still has a long way to go before it eliminates Halloween off the map of holidays!

    -Barb the French Bean

  6. I bet you could rock that candy corn witch.

    Just don't do a she-devil. We know how that goes. Especially if tools are present and make defamatory comments (is that even a real word?).


Apparently, leaving comments on this blog is a hit-or-miss game of Russian roulette: you are either lucky and can comment away, or you are required to log in when the settings are CLEARLY set to allow trouble-free commenting (sorry 'bout that, folks). If anything, the Facebook page is always a viable option. :) -Barb