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10 things you need to know about Halloween in France

Updated: Sep 22, 2022

How excited are your children to celebrate Halloween? Read this list of the top ten things you need to know about Halloween in France before you begin your search for les pommes.

If you are an ex-pat who loves Halloween and all things related to it, you already know that the scariest aspect of the big day is discovering that your new home nation does not celebrate it. If you are an ex-pat who loves Halloween and everything related to it, you will know this. But before you go and hide under the couch and wait for Christmas, have a look at these ten things you need to know about Halloween in France. There is a possibility that you may discover some sweets... or tricks...

1. Don’t let your expectations get spooked

When you are spending Halloween in France, the first thing you need to keep in mind is the fact that you are celebrating Halloween in France. This implies that it is quite doubtful that the Halloween celebration you are used to attending, complete with sweets and costumes, will take place this year. If you are traveling from the United States or Canada, you may discover that the holiday appears to go by without much of a fuss at all during your stay in this country. Do not, however, let the fact that Halloween is your favorite holiday discourage you from celebrating it. Simply alter your expectations to reflect the reality of the situation, and you will quickly discover that Halloween in l'Hexagone is just as wonderful as all of those memories from your youth.

2. Halloween is not a French tradition

Even though it has its origins in the Celtic civilizations of Europe, Halloween is not a traditionally celebrated festival in France; rather, it was brought there from North America in the 1990s. La Toussaint, or All Saints Day as it is most often referred to in English, is one of the most highly celebrated national holidays in France.

The next day, on November 1st, the French pay their respects to those who have passed away by laying flowers at their graves and participating in other rituals associated with the holiday. La Toussaint, which occurs at the same time as two weeks of vacation for students throughout the nation, substantially overshadows Halloween in France. The French are extremely proud of their traditions and history, therefore the holiday coincides with the vacation period.

3. Many French people think Halloween is too commercial

One of the reasons why Halloween celebrations in the manner of the United States have not fully caught on in France is simply because they are too American. Simply because of this, a significant portion of French society looks down its nose at the holiday. The citizens of the area believe that the event has become too commercialized, which is another motive for supermarkets and other retailers to sell more sweets, costumes, and booze. Because of this, you will not see as many store windows decorated with spectacular Halloween displays as you may have in the past. Having said that, this is slowly beginning to alter, particularly in major urban centers. Therefore, when you are next out and about, be on the lookout for any glimpses of orange and black in the environment.

4. French attitudes to Halloween are changing… slowly

You will notice that certain members of the younger generations in France are gradually moving toward embracing Halloween, even though many residents of the area completely disregard the holiday. However, this change is occurring gradually, and you should not anticipate that your community center will soon be decorated with ribbons in shades of orange and black any time. Having said that, if you are working or attending school in a major city in France, you will most likely encounter references to Halloween. There are Halloween parties held at certain clubs, which often include costume contests. If you look hard enough, you could even locate a theatre screening some scary movies.

5. Don’t say trick-or-treat on Halloween in France

Instead of saying "trick-or-treat," the French ask for "candies or a spell" while celebrating Halloween (des bonbons ou un sort). Be that as it may, you should not anticipate a large number of youngsters in costume to knock on your front door in France since the custom of trick-or-treating is not particularly strong there. On Halloween, there is a good chance that you may be approached by many groups of children at your door, although this will depend on where you live. On the other hand, this is an exceptional case; it is in no way representative of the norm.

Why not organize your trunk-or-treat event if your children go to an international school in France or if you know other ex-pat parents who live in your neighborhood? Have a conversation with the other parents and organize a modified version of the classic trick-or-treating event for your children. The children will have fun dressing up and acting out the part of the adventure, and you will not have to throw away any of that sweets. Make sure that they stick to the French words, however!

6. Halloween costumes in France are usually scary

Warning to those who are going to parties: you are about to be scared! That is accurate, the French tend to adopt a sinister persona whenever they don a costume. Expect to be frightened if you go to a Halloween party in France, even though many costumes worn in North America these days are either adorable, humorous, or sarcastic. The locals will often go to great lengths to make the event as spooky as possible, dressing up as zombies, vampires, ghosts, and even the occasional European villain from a fairy tale. Your kids will have to be patient and wait until early spring for Carnival if they want an occasion to dress up in their favorite hilarious or charming costumes since this event takes place once a year.

7. There are lots of scary French places to visit on Halloween

This Halloween, if you want to experience a genuine chill, you might consider traveling to some of the most frightful locations in France. Due to the country's turbulent past that spans thousands of years, it is reasonable to conclude that there are plenty of haunted places to visit around the nation. The world-famous Paris Catacombs should be your first stop if you are currently residing in the City of Lights.

Within the maze of tubes that make up the subterranean cemetery are the skeletal remains of more than six million people. Indeed, you can. The beautiful Palace of Versailles, which may be found above ground, is not any less scary than it is below. It is reported that visitors to the residence that Marie Antoinette formerly called home have spotted spirits rummaging about the castle and the grounds. You have been warned!

8. Disneyland Paris hosts an annual Halloween festival

You will not be swayed by subterranean cemeteries, will you? Then why not experience a Halloween that is genuinely representative of the United States by traveling to one of the largest and greatest amusement parks in Europe: Disneyland Paris? The park, which is located just outside the city's capital, celebrates Halloween with an annual spectacle. You will have lots of opportunities to enjoy the enchantment of the park since the celebrations will continue throughout the whole month of October. You will discover your favorite Disney villains welcoming visitors of all ages as they go through the haunted house, which is decked up in spooktacular décor. In addition, there will be parades, exhibitions, and a variety of unique foods. An authentic Halloween celebration in the manner of the United States may be found right in the middle of France.

9. There are plenty of scary French movies to watch

There is always the option of renting a frightening movie and watching it in the comfort of your own house if you do not feel like going to haunted amusement parks or tunnels. But if you are tired of the same old Hollywood titles, why not switch things up and watch some French horror movies? The French cinematic industry has a long history of producing terrifying films. From the classic black-and-white film Les Diaboliques, released in 1955, to the cult film Baxter, released in 1989, something is terrifying for every audience. However, if movies are not your thing, you could be interested in the critically acclaimed series Les Revenants, which airs in Europe. The story revolves around a town in which the residents come back from the grave. Naturally.

10. Celebrate Halloween your way

If you are an ex-pat living in France, you will quickly realize that the best way to enjoy your favorite holidays from home is to simply celebrate them in the manner that you are used to doing so. There is no one technique that is superior to another for making the most of Halloween. Do not allow the fact that French culture may frown upon festivities in the manner of the United States to deter you from having a good time. There is no reason why you cannot organize a Halloween party with your neighbors or take your children trick-or-treating with the parents of other international students. But if the thought of all that is too terrifying, you may always choose to remain in and watch a horror movie or perhaps something a little more appropriate for children. Regardless of the option you choose, you will quickly come to appreciate Halloween celebrations in France just as much as you did back in your native country.



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