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Who knew? The French really like Halloween

The Local · 30 Oct 2014, 14:32

Published: 30 Oct 2014 14:32 GMT+01:00

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You'd think Halloween would be the perfect example of creeping American influence and consumer culture the French would resist of quietly ignore, but it's apparently got quite a following.

Most of the people we talked said they love the costumes, creepy vibe, candy and festive atmosphere that comes every year on October 31st.

“It already has become more popular, but it should grow even bigger,” 32-year-old Loan Prudhomme, who works in the ambulance service, told The Local on Thursday. “I really like it. You can go out, laugh, forget a bit about everything." 

“And scare people”, her daughter said, which to her seems to be the most enjoyable part.

And while trick or treating might seem like it would draw nothing more than a curious or nervous response in France, some people told us that it's practice is spreading.

Apparently kids here like candy just as much as they do in North America.

“Every year, there are children ringing my doorbell,” Sebal said. “I did it too when I was younger.”

Though it's still not a widespread practice in Francee. Fifteen-year-old Martin Clougher said he had little luck going door to door..  

“I tried going to people’s houses to do trick or treating but it didn’t really work,” he said. “They didn’t keep any candy at home.”

Some people see the invasion of the holiday as somewhat inevitable, but aren't necessarily displeased by it.

“We imitate the US in everything so why not imitate Halloween, too,” 16-year-old student Miriam Smadja said. “I don’t think we would ever do Thanksgiving, though, that really has absolutely nothing to do with us. But Halloween is fun.”

But not every agrees, of course.

When asked if she celebrated Halloween, one woman, who refused to give her name, said the holiday is a disaster in France. 

Story continues below…

“It’s something that hasn’t worked in France for the past ten years,” she said. “It used to work but not anymore. It’s a complete commercial failure.”

The commercial side of Halloween -- mounds of candy and cheap plastic decorations -- is often criticized, but in the US pumpkin carving, dressing up and trick or treating also bring people of different nationalities and religious beliefs together.

According to one young man, who also declined to give his name, this isn’t the case in France.

“I have never celebrated Halloween in my life,” he said.  “I couldn’t say if it’s popular or not. I live in the Parisian suburbs, and there are only Arabs, Africans, and Muslims, so we don’t celebrate it. We don’t know it.” 

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