Halloween in Paris

November 2, 2010By David JaggardC'est Ironique!
halloween in paris

French kids have been slow to catch on to the niceties of trick-or-treating.

When I saw  the little girl picking her nose, it reminded me to buy candy. Wait – perhaps some explanation is in order:

Having lived in France for a couple of decades, I tend to forget about Halloween, which was essentially unheard of here until a few years ago. Last Sunday it was brought to my attention when I saw a very cute little girl walking with her mother up Rue des Martyrs, decked out in an elaborate witch costume, complete with plastic broom and flat-brimmed conical hat, and elaborately reaming out her nostrils as she picked her way through the crowd of shoppers.

This, by which I mean seeing her in the Macbeth gear, reminded me that I needed to pick up some sweets for our concierge’s sons. Aged 10 and 11, they caught on to trick-or-treating two years ago and started dressing up in minimalist, half-baked disguises, mostly involving face painting with what looked like mom’s eyeliner, and making the rounds of the apartments in our building hoping that someone would help them raise their blood sugar. So now my wife Nancy and I stock a few bonbons for them on Halloween, but they still haven’t really understood the concept.

I say this because:

1) They don’t say “trick or treat” or whatever the French equivalent would be (if there is one). In fact they don’t say anything. They just ring the doorbell and stand there waiting for goodies. And they don’t have any goodie bags to put them in if and when they get them.

2) This year they didn’t even have costumes. They just rang the bell and waited for loot.

3) Then they came back about 45 minutes later, perhaps figuring (rightly) that we still had a few pieces of candy left. I guess the neighbors didn’t come through.

Anyway, we had stocked about two dozen little chocolate ball things and had only given out six — three apiece to the two boys — so we just gave them another double handful and that was it for Halloween around here. As my wife Nancy put it, “That wasn’t trick-or-treating, that was glycemia-driven home invasion.”

© 2010 Paris Update

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