Alysa Salzberg

Alysa Salzberg
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Paris, France
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December 31
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Writer, copy editor, translator, travel planner. Head servant to my cat.
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www.alysasalzberg.com
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A reader, a writer, a fingernail biter, a cat person, a traveller, a cookie inhaler, an immigrant, a dreamer. …And now, self-employed! If you like my blog and if you're looking for sparkling writing, painstaking proofreading, nimble French-English translation, or personalized travel planning, feel free to check out www.alysasalzberg.com.

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OCTOBER 31, 2011 9:18AM

Scary News: Halloween has vanished from Paris

Rate: 30 Flag

 

I knew this year that things wouldn’t be the same.  All Saints Day falls on a Tuesday, which means that a lot of people could have a four-day weekend by taking off  the day before  (most French people do this whenever a holiday falls in such a way – there’s even an expression for it, “faire le pont” – “make the bridge”).  With most of our friends planning to go out of town, we decided to move our annual Halloween party to November 5.

So I expected that for me, the actual Halloween would come and go here without much fuss.  But I didn’t realize this would be the case for the entire city. 

Halloween has never been very popular in France. It’s an Anglo-Saxon holiday, rooted in Celtic and early Christian tradition.  Though it’s celebrated to various degrees in countries around the world, France has just never totally embraced it.  A few years ago, a real effort was made to “convert” the people here.  You could find Halloween costumes and decorations in certain shops, and in some places in the countryside, kids even went trick or treating.  It never became a huge holiday, but there was a decent-sized group of people besides expats out there celebrating it in some way.

I’m not one for globalization and uniformity, but I figure, Halloween is fun – why not celebrate it a little?  It’s this thinking that made it the huge holiday it is in America, for example: While the customs of Halloween were brought over by immigrants from Ireland and Scotland, the majority of the population adopted them, regardless of their own cultural origins.

But I guess the thing is, while French immigrants in the US were able to go with the flow and mix happily with everyone else in the “Melting Pot”, most French people here in France have some major traits that block them from really enjoying the celebration.

For one thing, the French hate embarrassment.  They’re afraid to be overly emotive, often hesitant to wear loud colors, and are even scared to speak foreign languages in front of each other, knowing that they have an accent and will be criticized for it.  I guess their embarrassment-phobia extends to wearing costumes.  Trying to get French adults to don a costume of any kind – even one that’s pretty mild, like a pair of cat ears – is about as difficult as, well, getting an actual cat to wear any kind of Halloween accessory.  They just feel uncomfortable.  

 alipotiron

Luckily, as a black cat, Ali is already Halloween-appropriate.

 

The past two years, for example, we’ve told our friends to wear a costume to our Halloween party.  Most refused to make the effort – and those who did, quickly took off whatever small element of disguise they’d come with.  According to this website, nightclubs and bars that advertise Halloween theme nights will only see a small part of participants wear costumes – even if it’s advertised that coming in costume can let you skip the line, have a discount on drinks, or win prizes.

There are some exceptions; in the north of France, for example, Carnaval, held in February, is a month-long event where true die-hards go on a sort of bender, parading and carousing in different towns, dressed in silly costumes – the men typically donning women’s clothing.  The ambiance is close to Halloween, but without the scariness or candy. 

carnaval

 

carnaval 2 

Images from the 2006 Carnaval in Dunkerque 

 

You’d also think children might be different.  It’s true that kids usually like to wear costumes.  But since homemade costumes have never been encouraged here, parents think they have to buy anything Halloween-related.  If there’s one thing the French hate, it’s “commercial American holidays”.  They are pissed off at us for Valentine’s Day, and for the modern concept of Christmas.  I’ve written before how I’ve had many French people, including friends and students, remark that Santa Claus was invented by the Coca Cola Company.  A simplified history, especially when le père Noël (Father Christmas) and the concept of gift-giving have been around since long before the days of “the pause that refreshes”.

Still, I was able in the past to find certain elements of Halloween lingering around Paris.  Last year, I blogged about our first Halloween party, and how I’d been thrilled to come upon decorations and even a witch’s hat for sale at a local store.  This year, the boyfriend counted on that to help him find a costume. We headed out on Saturday – and found that the same store had already skipped to Christmas decorations.  There was a very small corner with about a dozen costumes hanging limply on a rack, and the boyfriend found something – but there were no decorations. A lot of kids were there, looking at the costumes. But I don’t think they had any trick or treating plans.  The first and last time I encountered Parisian trick-or-treaters was about eight years ago.

Part of that might be because the idea of trick-or-treating goes against French ideas about food and sweets.  When all else fails, I always think, “Candy!” Not just for Halloween, but for everything.  The French as a whole don’t have that reflex.  The very idea of accumulating and hoarding candy is more horrifying to them than a scary mask.  They’re disgusted and troubled by obesity and anything leading to it.  At our Halloween party, where the candy flows like wine, our friends generally only pick at the sugary offerings.  My boyfriend usually feels a little uncomfortable that we don’t offer them a sit-down, balanced dinner instead.

So I guess, really, that Halloween’s petering out here was inevitable.  With the exception of theme parks like Disneyland Paris, which keep the tradition going, everything else seems to be slowly vanishing.  Even in small ways, you can watch it fade.  There’s never been a lot of Halloween-focused TV programming here, but the channel M6 used to play the movie “Halloween” every year at midnight on the eponymous date.  A few years back, they stopped doing it.  A quick look at TV listings for tonight shows that this October 31 is no exception. 

The jack o’lantern situation this year was also pretty bleak.  While gardening stores are selling pumpkins like those we know in the U.S. (in general, French pumpkins are squat and uneven things that look like what you’d see in an old illustration from “Cinderella” – lovely, but not good for carving), they're awfully expensive. Storeowners aren't stupid: a slew of expats longing for Halloween will still snatch these pumpkins up at any price.  I prefer to go to our local market for our future jack o’lanterns.  In past years, I’ve found lovely potirons (winter squash) that were perfect...except for being green instead of orange.  And last year, I actually found orange-colored potirons that looked like regular American pumpkins --  though we kind of missed the green ones, which had ended up looking really cool. 

 green pumpkin

 

This year, though, I almost had to come home empty-handed. 

There were very few carvable squash for sale.  I raced among the stalls like a madwoman, terrified at the prospect of a jack o’lantern-less Halloween.  Finally, I came upon some “potimarrons” (red kuri squash) that will have to do, though they don’t stand very well on their own. 

 

 potimarron

One of this year's soon-to-be jack o'lanterns

 

I got home with my heavy burden and smiled.  Then I realized that when we were repainting the living room earlier this year, I’d put our Halloween decorations away somewhere and had no idea where they were.  I spent the next few hours digging through the storage area under the lofted bed, searching.  Maybe it was symbolic....

A Happy Halloween to all, and please enjoy it all the more, for those of us who can't celebrate it!

 

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For those of you in the northeastern US affected by the snowstorm, I hope you'll still be able to have a Happy Halloween!
Alysa, this is another great example of the things we take for granted in U.S.! I never realized what a non-holiday event Halloween is in France and I would have guessed before reading your post that there was plenty of celebration there. Thanks for a wonderful story about this and Ali is looking in fine form for this special day!
I fear that, at least as far as trick or treating goes, it is petering out in the states too. I find that sad.
When you have a black cat, every day is Halloween. I enjoyed this and I have to admit I would not miss the holiday if it disappeared in the states, too. It lost its charm when the litte fun size candy bars appeared. Cheap!
Things I thought about while reading your super-fantastic Halloween post:

1) You are so funny! Though I'm not an expert, your descriptions of the French perfectly matches my perception of them, especially the fear of embarrassment. And these two lines cracked me up: "The very idea of accumulating and hoarding candy is more horrifying to them than a scary mask. They’re disgusted and troubled by obesity and anything leading to it." I so sensed that when I spent some time there. My other sense of the French, generally speaking, is that they take themselves very seriously, so I can see why Halloween wouldn't quite catch on.

2) I could absolutely squeal with delight at that freakin' adorable kitty!

3) A whole bunch of stores have already started with the Christmas displays here, too. What's up with that?

4) I can't believe I'm taking my son trick-or-treating in the snow.

Thanks for another great post! :)
Alysa: I hope this makes cover as I had NO idea.. I know Les Quebecquois party like it;s 1984..:)
Wow.. his boggles my mind.
HUGGGGGGGGG
Given the current rift between italians and french deriving from the debt crisis, I am not going to passionately defend them but i will only say that Halloween is a quintessential anglosaxon tradition and that it has only taken a bit of a hold in european countries as the young adults thought it a great occasion for parties with fun paraphernalia; of course this also presented an opportunity to turn a few bucks for a lot of people.
It does not have any real roots in France and in my country so i do not think that the non-celebration should be taken sadly other than by the expatriates; for the occasion my american wife and I tonight will go to a dinner offered by her italian friends , just a great excuse for some good food and good wine.

saluti
Halloween is pretty big here in Japan now. My wife went to a Halloween party as Hit Girl, and the Phantom of the Opera walked into the subway car that I was riding on Saturday night and nobody blinked. Today I saw college students (Temple Univ. has a campus near the office) dressed as Pokemon . . . all this would have been unthinkable, say, five years ago, but this is all probably going to get bigger as time goes on . . . after all, isn't Japan the country that gave the world cosplay?
Laughing and commiserating...it is the same here in RSA... I don't miss the holiday that much, other than my grandma's bd.
JL, my 16 year old daughter, made a skeleton face and went to school- ALL day. I can only imagine this not occurring in France!

Isabella, my 23 year old Rotary Exchange pal in college looked good ALL the time. She gained weight that year she was there, but she still looked foreign. But, everyone noticed how stylish she was. I just had hoped French costumes were stylish and not obvious. But, even the Carnival outfits seemed cheap, too.

Loved the story of the country hour and half away from my home! I've bought books on France since reading your columns.

Thank you! Rated.
Hmmm...maybe I'll look into moving to France! I'm not a big fan of Halloween. I remember liking it as a child but now with three kids it's exhausting and seems overly dramatic. Entertaining post!
The French may not dress up for Halloween, but when I was at a country music festival last year in southern France, attendees were wearing all manner of cowboy clothing, boots, hats, and big beltbuckles, just like you would see at a county fair in Wyoming.
Cool pictures. I understand how you might feel about missing this holiday, it does hold some kind of spell over those of us who grew up with it. I was mourning today as I looked out in my garden, realizing that I had to put all my decorations away and Halloween ended today. Sad? yes. Sad that a woman my age will miss the decorations.....
PLease disguise yourself if you go out after dark. I (and surely maney others here) would miss you if the spirits from the other side snatched you soul.
I bet that squash would taste pretty good roasted and blended into chicken broth.
So interesting how holidays are shaped by culture and vice-versa. I've never been a big Halloween fan myself. I must be part French.
I remember you last year's Halloween party blog and the fun you had preparing appropriate hors d'oeuvres for it. I'm not much of a fan of the day, but I'll think of you when the costume clad children show up, Alysa.
♥R
This was a fascinating cultural exposition. I enjoyed reading this. Ali is a cutie.
Alysa, It is now almost 7:30PM here in Germany on Halloween night. So far, we have not had one ring of the door-bell. This has gotten me really upset, since now it appears I'll be forced to eat all this candy we purchased for any kids coming to the door. In previous years we have always had a few treaters, but as in France it appears it is a dying event.
Great post. R
This was a great look into another culture. I could totally do away with Halloween myself. It has never interested me much, but the kids loved it.
Have you seen the movie "The Rules of the Game"? Apparently the French enjoy wearing costumes but you have to call the event a masquerade ball.
Well, I'm glad you mentioned Carnaval, because most European countries go crazy with the dress-up then. Thanks for keeping "Freedom-ween" alive! USA! USA! USA!

All joking aside, you mentioned watching "Halloween" - France has a good horror movie tradition. Check out "Them", "High Tension" and the thoroughly messed up "Calvaire".
I would've thought Maison du Chocolat and the other chocolatiers would be pushing Halloween. I'd love a large bag of truffles.

I'm sorry, but didn't France cross the secular country line a long time ago? When a country's population hits a certain percentage of non-believers/non-church goers, they really shouldn't be allowed to take All Saints Day as a holiday. Or any other day dedicated to some minor saint.
This is so funny. I had no idea. With all the wine they drink you would think they would be up for a little fun! So much resentment towards the US. Their loss.....
Congrats on the EP!
As a writer, Miss Salzberg, you are bloody good.
I hate Halloween. Now I have another reason to move to France!
Ali is gorgeous! Really, what more do you need in the way of Halloween decorations? Okay, I know you want more. But Ali is the centerpiece!
designanator – I’m sorry I had to be the one to bring the bad tidings of the French’s distaste for Halloween – but thanks for your kind words, especially about Ali. I told him what you said, and he looked very proud!

Barbara - Oh no, I hope that’s not so!!!

Miguela – Right on about what you said about having a black cat – but I wish you liked Halloween more! Where you live, are there a lot of celebrations for the Dia de los Muertos? That’s a wonderful holiday, too.

Seer – I’ve wondered about that, too. I think maybe it’s because masquerade costumes have a certain elegance to them, whereas Halloween is a sort of free-for-all – rather than elegant, we tend to go for scary, sexy, and/or funny. Maybe that’s what the French don’t feel comfortable with?

Sally – 1) The French are indeed a complicated people. I like how you put it – I think they do indeed take themselves much too seriously! 2) Thank you – I have been telling Ali about the nice things people are saying about him and he seems very proud. He’s sleeping now and I think he’s dreaming of meeting his admirers in person! 3) Skipping ahead to Christmas already is even worse in the US – you guys still have Thanksgiving to go! WTFF?! 4) When I heard about the snowstorm in the northeast, that was one of the first things that came to mind: what’s Halloween going to be like? As I said on your blog, I used to hate cold Halloweens, because you to cover up your costume. I hope you guys stay warm and end up having more fun than you expected!

Linda – I’m sorry to be the bearer of bad tidings, but I’m glad that somewhere in the francophone world people really enjoy Halloween! Thanks for that ray of hope!

Roberto – Thanks for reading. Firstly, I hate how European countries are starting to create rifts between them, all over money. They should be banding together so that they can be sure to protect the values and basic way of life they all believe in, when and if the time comes when it’s necessary to do so. That said, I have to confess, I prefer Italian food to French cuisine…. : - ) Secondly, I do agree that Halloween isn’t a part of these cultures – but I just think any excuse to dress up and pretend and eat lots of candy is good for everyone. But I’m glad you and your wife have found a way to adapt, and I hope you enjoy your evening!

Natsuki – Very interesting! I hope you’ll write a post about this one day. And I love the idea of the Phantom of the Opera coming onto the Metro and no one really noticing. It makes me think of one of your stories.

Brazen Princess – I read your lovely post about your grandmother today. I don’t agree with you about Halloween, but I totally understand how much you love and miss her. She seems like she was a great lady.

Mango – Skeleton face at school for Halloween=awesome. Yes, the costumes in France today are mostly cheap looking, especially for Carnaval – though with the latter, I think it’s intentional. I’ve never been in quite that ambiance elsewhere; there’s no place at Carnaval in France for ho costumes, etc. – no one wants to look sexy or good, it’s about looking funny and ridiculous, so very cool and laid-back and fun. The fact that my posts have inspired you to buy books about France is one of the nicest things anyone has told me. Thank you, and I hope you enjoy learning even more about this fascinating place.

Karin – Thank you for reading and I’m glad you liked my post – but now you’ve made me even more afraid of motherhood than I already am; I don’t want to ever feel exhausted by Halloween! But wait a sec – now that I think about it, that probably won’t happen here, though I will try to bring my kids to the US at least once in their childhoods to experience trick or treating…..

Frank – You’re absolutely right – Country-Western music is a big thing in certain regions of France – we even saw a documentary recently about people who go to concerts and festivals dressed up but also “living like a cowboy,” camping out in old-fashioned tents, etc. (and apparently some of the fans like to dress as Native Americans, and sleep in tee-pees).

Sheila – I don’t think it’s sad at all! I think it’s totally reasonable! I hope this Halloween was an enjoyable one for you!

another steve s – Thank you for your kind concern. Unfortunately, I didn’t dress up tonight – though we did watch a gorey movie in honor of the holiday. As for the fate of the squash, OSer Fusun posted a delicious squash muffin/cake recipe around this time last year. I am a pretty mediocre cook but I tried it and it came out absolutely scrumptious (and I’m sure for an experienced baker, it would be even better), and we’re so excited about making it again this year! But we have to wait till next weekend, when our guests will help us make jack o’lanterns.

Pauline – I guess you must be part French! I don’t know how anyone could not like the idea of dressing up as anything you want to for a night – and eating candy, to boot!

Fusun – You are so sweet. As I wrote to another steve s above, your squash muffin/cake recipe has become a very important part of our Halloween, so I’ll be thinking of you when we celebrate, too!

Stacey – Thanks for reading and your kind words – especially about Ali. He is thrilled with all the attention he’s getting!

Out on a limb – How sad! I always think of Germans as being very festive people, seeing how they celebrate Christmas and all. I hope you did end up having a lot of trick or treaters after all!

Christine – Thanks – but I can’t believe a person can’t love Halloween!

Retablo – I haven’t seen the movie – but you’re right; masquerade balls are a big part of French history. As I wrote to Seer, I think maybe that was okay with them because the costumes didn’t make you look completely ridiculous or over-the-top. Or maybe they’ve just gotten more uptight over time….

Chiller Pop – Haha! You’re right – the French have some great horror movies and also some great kind of creepy films, like “The City of Lost Children”. But they don’t usually tie those in with Halloween. What a waste….

Stim – Whenever I pass a chocolate shop, I try to avert my eyes, lest I lose control and go in and buy a box, so it is possible that some of the shops have done a Halloween tie-in – but I haven’t heard of any big campaign, etc. As for All Saints Day being off – the French are very proud and insistent about being a secular country, but strangely enough, they don’t complain about having certain Christian/Catholic holidays off. I mean, dude, it’s France! They have the most vacation days of any country in Europe, and they are darn right to keep those holidays. Ironically, we should take this day off in the US, since so many kids and parents and homeowners have to stay up late for trick or treating purposes. If we had November 1 off in the States, there could be Halloween parties on the actual night, to boot. Why oh why isn’t it a day off in the US?!

Susie – The French are complicated. They don’t hate the US completely, but they’re annoyed by many things we’ve brought into the world, even while being full of appreciation/admiration for other accomplishments of ours. Basically, I think it’s hard for the French to completely like or appreciate or approve of anyone – even themselves! Yes, even in spite of the wine!

Count Crankula – Good evening, as your kind says. I am very glad to see you’ve gotten into the Halloween spirit!

sweetfeet - Nooo! Halloween is great! Maybe if you were here, you'd find that you missed it....

Eva - I will tell Ali what you said, and I think he'd agree. He's definitely the star of the show, but I"m glad to say that after hours of searching, I finally found our decorations. It wouldn't be the same without crepe witches on the walls....

Thanks for reading and commenting, everyone, and I wish all those who celebrate it a very Happy Halloween!
There should be a middle ground somewhere, Alysa, between the crass commercialism we have in this country and the tight-assed ninnyness of the French - except for those in the North, of course. Carnaval looks to be similar to Fasching in Germany. Drink and be merry.
I read somewhere that original jack o'lanterns were carved out of turnips, of all things! You are on the right track. Happy Halloween!
I love Halloween, but I can see why it wouldn't go over so well in France. I loved reading about it, though! ~r
Chicken Maaan (love the accents but I can't reproduce them!) - It's funny - so many people talk about Halloween being commercial in the States, but I've always thought it's how you handle it. I mean, okay, you probably have to buy candy to give out, but I hope that most kids would know they don't have to buy a costume to participate, or even to look cool. I remember one year I found some foil stars and wore all black and went as the night sky. (Okay, I didn't "look cool" for anyone else but myself, probably....). It was so fun to come up with my own costume. I think parents should help kids remember that. I do wish here that there could be a middle ground indeed! Oh French people, why are you (with some exceptions), so grouchy?!

Linnnn - I do a lesson on the history and customs of Halloween every year with my EFL students (no worries, it's also fun, with quizzes, games, and candy). We do indeed talk about how originally it was turnips that were carved into jack o'lanterns, not pumpkins. Apparently the change was made when Irish immigrants to North America found that pumpkins were more easily available. I think it was definitely a change for the better! Though a small white jack o'lantern would be kind of creepy, come to think of it....

Macco - I'm sorry to hear you guys didn't get that many trick or treaters. I felt so bummed out when I realized Halloween would be on a Monday night - I still remember feeling that way as a kid, though I did go trick or treating every year. I hope you had fun and got into the spirit, anyway, and thanks as always for your kind words!

Joan - Thanks, and I hope you had a great Halloween!
I too, noticed that Halloween is disappearing in France.
I think that the French are very ambivalent about their ties to the biggest Enlightenment experiment : what I now call the disunited states of America.
Does anybody know if the Brits practice Halloween the way the Americans do ? I'm not sure...
For years I had fun inviting my English speaking friends to private Halloween parties. My dual nationality kids and I carved the pumpkin together, before the potimarrons got off the ground.
We ate pumpkin for weeks afterwards..
But when Halloween went "public" here, and started becoming very commercial, it turned me off.
I fear that there never was any cultural foundation for Halloween in France.
THIS COUNTRY TAKES RATIONALISM TO IRRATIONAL HEIGHTS...
Most people here get a kick out of explaining magic away.
How could they have fun at Halloween ?
I no longer regret Halloween though.
I would prefer to experience magic as a not one night a year affair.
Being an expat in France is hard, though...
Very hard.
Good luck, but it sounds like you're doing just fine, anyway.
I am so glad to have a black cat in my home again, to keep Halloween magical. This picture of Ali reminds me of other black cats I have known and loved, and the pictures I have taken with them at this time of year. What a splendid (and lucky) animal! Vive l'Ali!!
Halloween in the States has become a big party day for adults, I think, right after New Year's Eve. It's not just for the kiddies anymore. This was a very interesting read, Alysa.
Well.... The French have a point about obesity. And definitely about commercialism. But still, as a Halloween-loving American, I'd find it hard!

But then, I went out to dinner with my mother last night and we agreed we were "Halloween Minimalists" this year. I bought a pumpkin, which still sits on my back patio full of goop, and innocent of any kind of carving. No treats were distributed from my front door, either. So gosh darn, I'm stuck with mini peanut butter cups and Heath bars!

Spookily rated.
I admire the French attitude on Halloween.
I was an easily embarrassed child, and adulthood has not improved this.
(In fact, it has gotten worse).
I have no earthly use for pumpkins, especially digesting them.
Halloween is for the kids. And the chicks.
Chicks like to deck out in various sexy costumes, including my favorite,
the voluptuous vampire. When else can gals wear fishnet stockings up to ‘there’, right?

For the kids . And the ladies. I give Halloween a grudging pass
I think that big squash would make a charming jack 0' lantern! Your comments on the French and costumes were very perceptive. Hope you at least treated yourself to some good-quality candy last night!
I was visiting friends in France (Tours) about 12 years ago right at the time of Halloween, and (I was told) this was only the third or so year France had celebrated the holiday. As you say, no trick or treating, and costumes were rather redundant (boys: skeletons and ghosts; girls: witches), but that night the entire city's population of kids dressed up, accompanied by their parents, and the whole group had a parade down the main boulevard. A real live Halloween parade. I would have been rather corny here, but I rather thought it was pretty cool. Don't know if they do that kind of thing anymore (haven't been back in a few years), and it sounds like they don't, at least in Paris. I was kind of looking forward to seeing the French take ownership of Halloween to figure out their own way of doing it, but I guess not...
Sorry I'm so late. This working is interfering with my OS reading! Anyway, Alysa, I think I must be part French. I am one of the few Americans who got over Halloween as soon as I turned 12. Dressing up in costumes makes me very uncomfortable unless EVERYONE else is also looking goofy. I love learning about the French people from your point of view.

Lezlie
Oh, to live in a land where fabulous food comes first.
I am surprised to read the homemade costume part didn't translate, no wonder the French aren't so into Halloween. Commercial Halloween is completely different, I'd shun it too.
I love learning new tidbits about fellow humans living life differently...
Oh Alysa, this is so sad. You are officially invited to come to NY next year with the boyfriend and celebrate it with us. We had a fog machine and a laser light show in the basement filled with cobwebs and spiders, with hanging zombies wherever we could squeeze 'em. Heaven.
Ah no, that is not why there is no Halloween in France. Truth is there never really was Halloween in France. Except for a couple years where shop owners tried it in case they would make money with it. But French people were totally unused to Halloween so they needed time to assimilate the idea but they were too slow for shop owners who dropped the idea after a couple years. Pity is now maybe people would be used to the idea and enjoy it but there is no decoration left in shops nada nothing as quickly as they decided we'd celebrate Halloween shops decided that no after all. You have a wrong idea of French people, they don't take themselves seriously and aren't obsessed with weight, they just like many other people need others to tell them what they have to do. It's like: "we celebrate Halloween? ok we do" "we no longer celebrate Halloween? ok".

On another note it's often been my feeling that people have a wrong vision of French because they mostly deal with Parisians yet Parisians are not representative of French people. Most French people actually dislike them too and think they are full of themselves. For example, when it's holidays many people from other regions purposedely plan their vacations on the week(s) they know Parisians are not on holidays themselves so as to avoid them.
Sheenayah – I’m sorry you don’t feel that my post represents France very well. I often try to be specific about whether I’m talking about Parisians, or French people in general -- especially in the other posts you may be referencing, where I mention the French attitude towards weight. I will point out, however, that most Parisians are not actually Paris-born, but come from other areas of the country. I will also say that while I live in and love Paris, I only know a handful of Paris-born people; most of my French friends, acquaintances, and clients, as well as my boyfriend and his family, are from other cities in France, or the French countryside, so I’ve definitely got some experience with that, as well, though of course not as much, since I don’t live in those places. As far as Halloween goes, I’m very sorry if it wasn’t clear from my writing, but I do acknowledge that Halloween is not a French holiday, and that it was celebrated here for a few brief years (which I witnessed, in part), and then somewhat died out (though this year’s Halloween celebration at the Stade de France gives me hope of a revival). I also know from friends that Halloween is still celebrated in some rural areas, even though it’s not with the same fervor or on the same scale as the holiday is celebrated in the US, Ireland, etc. What is your own experience with France and the French? I see you haven’t posted anything on your OS account, but it would be very interesting to read about your life and perspective.
Ah Alysa, so kind, so diplomatic, in your response...

(Just caught my eye, came over to read what was new on this post that I enjoyed so much last year : ))
This year was my first in 24 years not making a costumes for kids, not carving pumpkins, nothing...quite relaxing, actually !
Just Thinking - I've been so behind in everything OS-related, but saw I had a new comment here when I got on for a minute last night. Thank you for coming by, as well, and for your support.