Wir spuken heut vor Deinem Haus
und machen viel Geschrei
Gibst Du uns Süßigkeiten raus,
dann ist es schnell vorbei!
A few years ago (maybe more than a few, but definitely less than ten), Halloween made it to Germany. I could be cynical and say that like for McDonalds, commercialism can set cultural trends. I could also say that, of course Halloween is successful in Germany, because any opportunity to decorate and have fun will be driven by the market.
Stores here were filled with Halloween themed decorations and food. I was able to buy Halloween (pumpkin) soup, nibble on Halloween Munch, sip Halloween beer and look at the dozens of different kinds of Halloween candles and plastic pumpkins on sale. It was bizarre to see the things I associate with October in the U.S. with German labels and Euro pricetags.
However, after seeing Halloween take place this Friday, it’s clear that is has been accepted here. While it may have had U.S. commercial origins (like many U.S. trends in Germany), it will slowly become German. I mean, clearly it is compatible with public transportation use.
I was surprised to learn that the Germans have their own rhymes for the children to say when they go from door to door. I can’t even remember if U.S. kids still say things like “Trick or Treat, smell my feet, give me something good to eat.” But the German children, dressed up in the same classical witch, grim-reaper, scary costumes, had to earn their candy here. And in regards to the costumes, I noticed that they were more traditional. I felt like Halloween in Germany is therefore a little more closely tied with the original intention of the holiday. I wonder if it has to do with the fact that the 31. of October is also Reformation Day.
Maybe that’s why the “tricks” are rather mild. The worst “Streiks” I saw was shaving cream on the handles to mail boxes.
Another difference I noticed here is that children went from shop to shop and into restaurants, and the Kiosk cashiers or bartenders were actually prepared with candy to give to the children.
I enjoyed being able to see something traditionally U.S. here… it made me feel a little homesick. I myself didn’t take part in the festivities (Halloween on a Friday was a good excuse to party), but I had my Halloween towel hanging out all week. Counts for something, right?
And as last proof that the Germans do Halloween like the U.S. Americans, consider this pumpkin leftover from the holiday. Nov. 2nd and still out!
At least this isn’t South Florida. there the pumpkins are lucky when they make it to the 31st.