Are you a Halloween fan? I honestly don’t really care for the holiday, probably because I didn’t grow up with it. The term Halloween, and its older spelling Hallowe’en, is shortened from All-hallows-eve, as it is the evening before “All Hallows’ Day” (also known as “All Saints’ Day”)” which we do celebrate in Germany on November, 1.
So yesterday was an official holiday in Germany, but Halloween itself is not a holiday. There also was no trick-or-treating or dressing up for Halloween when I was a kid, but don’t you worry, we didn’t miss out. In Germany, kids dress up for Carnival in February and get treats for St. Martin’s Day on November 11, one of the holidays that falls into the harvesting/fall season.
In Kindergarten and Elementary school, kids in Germany make colorful paper lanterns in art class. The night of November, 11, they all join a procession, led by a man on horseback dressed as St. Martin. The children carry their lanterns and sing songs about St. Martin. It’s quite a beautiful sight. After a march through town, they all come together at a bonfire where the story of St. Martin is re-narrated and treats are passed out. Traditions vary depending on the area, but in the Rhineland (where I am from) every kid would receive a bag with candy, fruits, and a “Weckmann” [a pastry in the form of a gingerbread man, which is made from sweetened yeast dough just like my sweet yeast bread].
In the area where I am from, kids also go from door to door in the neighborhood with their paper lanterns and sing songs in return for a treat. It’s very similar to the American tradition of trick-or-treating. And in recent years, trick-or-treating and dressing up for Halloween has also been adopted in many places, but that didn’t use to be the case when I was a kid.
I may not enjoy dressing up and I am not a fan of horror movies, but what I do enjoy about Halloween as an adult – besides a sweet treat – are non-scary scary movies (so basically the kids’ selection, ha!) and Halloween decorations. So on Friday afternoon, I went on a little run around our neighborhood to capture all the cool decorations people have put out. It was a gorgeous fall day here in Northern California, and I was thoroughly impressed by some of the creativity!
I was trying to remember if the “cat crossing” – sign had always been there, or if it was put up just for Halloween, as I often run in the neighborhood, but couldn’t recall seeing it before. Either way, I thought it was pretty cool and I’ll definitely pay attention in the future.
I really liked the house with the gazillion pumpkins upfront. I remember it from last year and was so impressed by the sheer amount of pumpkins. I think they had even more last year. I also thought some of the skeleton displays were so cool.
I hope you had a spooky Halloween – or, at least as spooky as YOU can handle. Do you have some creative neighbors where you live? Or, are you one of these people who go all out decorating their own house?