Just like Thanksgiving in Munich, since I’ve lived here Halloween is slowly but surely grown into an observed holiday. Actually much more than Thanksgiving.
Halloween is one of my favorite holidays, and it makes me homesick each year that it rolls around, devoid of Jack-o-lanterns and trick-or-treaters.
This year I found out through friends who have kids, there are neighborhoods in the greater München metropolitan area where pumpkins and treats abound. Ramersdorf and also Üntermenzing (or was it Öbermenzing?) I’m told.
I tagged along in Ramersdorf. While I can’t say the streets were teeming with costumed youth, and I was blinded by all the light coming from all of the jack-o-lanterns, it was a start.
It was funny and kind of cute to see how tentative everyone was. It’s wasn’t the rough and tumble ‘TRICK OR TREAT!’ mania that I remember from my childhood. Instead, the kids shyly knocked, usually asking politely ‘May I have some candy?’, some recalling that you’re supposed to say ‘Trick-or-Treat’.
Germans are generally private people, much more so than Americans. The ritual of strangers coming to the door and demanding candy is not one that I think would have ever originated in a Teutonic culture. They’re slowly getting the hang of it though.
A word to all those that lament American culture taking over: Fuhgeddaboudit.
We are moving towards a global culture. There are people in the U.S. right now ranting about how Soccer is going to replace Baseball. When I moved here 14 years ago, techno dance music was a strictly European phenomenon, now it is become irretrievably embedded into a American popular culture, referred to now by a mere acronym ‘EDM’ (Electronic Dance Music). I know it can feel like a one way street sometimes, but it’s not. All of our cultures are changing.
Germany is an extremely stable, traditional (on some days, I might even say static) culture that is slow to change (which, of course, has advantages and drawbacks). Every time I travel between here and America, this becomes more clear to me.
My point is: Halloween is not going to destroy German traditions, it will just add more fun to the mix. The only thing to be afraid of is goblins and ghouls!
P.S. If you want to get prepared for next year, you can download my free Halloween printable mini poster here.