Halloween, All Hallows’ Eve, Trick or Treat and now there’s even Trunk or Treat? The all too popular Volksfest holiday in the United States is nothing for se’ Germans. All Saints’ Eve, Haunted house, zombies, pumpkin decorations or even corn mazes? Not here: Welcome to the Halloween wasteland: a.k.a Germany.
As an American and Wisconsite at that, Halloween belongsed to one of my favorite holidays. We used pillow cases to collect candy and rollerblades to hit up as many houses as we could. “Insert doorbell sound from Home Alone”, -Bam- the door opens and all you have to say is “Trick or Treat”. And there you have it – after 2 hours of hard work you basically have a dentists’ nightmare in a bag. Not in Germany. Well, partially. As I have been told. Trick or Treating and Halloween in Germany is slowly taking over. But where are the corn mazes and haunted houses?
Germans are not Trick-or-treaters
According to some surveys, approximately 20% of the Germans celebrate Halloween nowadays, which was theoretically and practically non-existent only 10 years ago. But I must admit: after surveying family, relatives and friends who have lived in Germany: Halloween is only a word – a word that can only be pronounced by the near-native speakers in Germany. I must chuckle when a German says Hallo-veeen. Nothing more. And I say, German are not good trick or treaters because only every 5th house actually participates in this whole shin-dig.
So here are just a few differences to German-American halloweening.
- People in Germany ask you IF you are doing something on Halloween
The American folk will assume you have plans up to 2-3 months beforehand
- If ‘se German goes trick or treating they say “Süßes oder Saures” which means “sweet or sour”
If an American says to you “sweet or sour”, you are most probably in a Chinese restaurant
Haunted Houses Germany – nothing for Germans
As you might know, my wife is originally from Germany; and has had her share of Halloween experience. But her straight-on, reality-loving German self cannot get over the fact that a lot of Americans believe in things being haunted. Party pooper? Na – Just German.
Halloween and its’ derivation
Originally from Irish settlers and the Celts, Halloween is an old Celtic-Christian harvest festival which was brought over by the waves of Irish settlers in the United States. And the Christian readers would now want to correct me and remind people to go to church, light candles on your relatives tombstones or quietly reflect upon those who have passed.
As for us, my wife and I are fans of this tradition. I must confess that I dressed up as Richard Nixon for Halloween when I was in the 5th grade, and did not have the slightest clue what a great person he actually was. Oh yeah – and I am totally looking forward to Jimmy Kimmel’s Halloween Candy prank this year.