So it’s Halloween tonight. Celtic holiday, sort of, taken over by the Anglo-Saxons, sort of, and then transported to North America and refined into a truly weird combination of costumes, scary, and sugar.
I’m a transplanted American living in Germany, and I’ve found that Halloween is just catching on here. Apparently nobody knew about it a generation ago — it was a weird thing the Americans did on their bases — but now at least some people are putting up jack o’lanterns and handing out candy. (Fewer jack o’lanterns. American pumpkins have been bred for soft shells and easy carving. Germans, not yet. Carving a German pumpkin is more carpentry than art.) There’s nothing like the tsunami of commercial decorations, costumes, and high fructose corn syrup that seizes America in the last days of October, but people know about it and children want to do it.
Normally I’d roll my eyes at this: another American commercial tradition colonizing the poor old continent, like raccoons invading the Black Forest. But Halloween is a sort of cool holiday. It makes no sense, but it’s fun. Fun is good.
So, my question, European readers: where else in Europe is this holiday taking hold? Are there small children going door to door in Hungary? Costume parties in Portugal? Black-cat paper cutouts in the windows in Finland?
Who’s got Halloween tonight?