2: Happy (belated) Halloween

I am doing NaBloPoMo this month. 30 blog posts in 30 days. Come join me. #nablopomo2021
Please check out the other participants here!

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?

  1. Yes, I love Halloween! I decorate the house and of course we give out candy. One thing I love about the holiday is how creative people get with their costumes and decorations. My kids are older not (son in college and daughter in middle school) but I love seeing all the little kids trick-or-treating in their costumes.
    Interesting that the German traditions have similarities with our Halloween- going door-to-door, getting treats, etc.
    I’m not a fan of horror movies either- not because they scare me, but because they just seem kind of silly. Oh, and I also don’t dress up- but I have a couple Halloween shirts I make sure to wear.
    P.S. I’m not seeing a list of 2021 NaBloPoMo participants on the page- it still has 2020. Am I missing it?

    1. I can imagine that with two kids, you don’t really get to NOT do Halloween :) I do enjoy seeing all the kids out in the costumes, too.

      Haha, I had to laugh when you said that you don’t like horror movies, not because they scare you, but because you think they’re silly. I agree, some – older – movies are indeed silly, but the newer ones do scare me. I can’t even watch the trailers. I am a wimp! LOL

      Mmh, seems to be a problem with the cache of the blog or something – I can see the participant list when I click on the link up above, a friend (that I asked to check) only sees a shorter list ( = previous version). Maybe give it a bit of time and it will show up?! If not, please let me know and I can see what I can do about it.

      1. I can only see the 2020 participants list as well. Checked in two browsers and emptied cache. Will check again tomorrow.

        1. That is so weird. I do hope the list shows up tomorrow. I don’t know how I can do anything about it, as I can see it.

  2. It is so funny how it differs from one part to the next even here inn Germany. Coming form the eastern / northern part where Protestants are more prominent Nov.1 is no Holiday and I bet most people couldn’t tell you what All Saints is. But October 31 is a Holiday. Not Halloween but Reformation Day. We also had St. Martins and that was the most important celebration in fall. I can not remember to get any treats though. We just walked around with our lanterns. And we often made them of course. And I remember we used them many more days after not just the 11th.
    We went out for a drive this Sunday and in the suburbs there was a lot of Halloween going on this year. in the inner City we didn’t see any. A couple years ago we had some trick or treaters but I didn’t open the door. I am mean like that but I had no candy anyways.

    1. I know, I think you pointed out that you have slightly different traditions in Berlin (and surrounding areas). It’s really interesting how “regional/local” these traditions are. I think it also depends on if you live in a “catholic” Bundesland or not…. we have a lot of religious holidays that northern/eastern Germany don’t get.

      Haha, my sister is just like you. A couple of years ago, when she didn’t have any candy for trick-or-treaters, because she didn’t expect any, she told them to come back with a lantern for St. Martin’s Day LOL

  3. Halloween is not my “thing” but the kids really enjoy it. We keep things low-key, a few pumpkins, fun costumes, and a walk through our neighbourhood to collect candy (we leave a bowl with candy outside our house since we’re gone most of the evening).

    But I do live vicariously through people who really enjoy the holiday. Some of the carved pumpkins in our neighbourhood are incredible! The time and attention to detail is top notch!

    Love all the pictures you snapped on your running route. I’ve never taken the kids out to look at Halloween decorations as a specific event (we go look at Christmas lights several evenings over the holiday season), but as people come up with more and more elaborate displays, I really should start doing this!

    1. I am sure if I had kids, I would do low-key thing like you do for Halloween. We also usually go look at Christmas lights during the holiday season, but it’s worthwhile taking a stroll through the neighborhood for Halloween too :) (plus, you get a nice walk in. Win-win!)

  4. Halloween isn’t my holiday either (did anybody say yet we can start decorating for Christmas????) but I did have a few pumpkins at my front door as well as a big inflatable Pumpkin in the front yard. Surprisingly we had three different groups of kiddos trick or treating at our place!
    Love the house with all the pumpkins on display as well as the “cat crossing” sign!

  5. I loved reading about the German holiday! I didn’t know about it at all, and I think it sounds fun (and awfully similar to Halloween). I really like Halloween, I love the decorations and the kids being excited. And the candy! We are definitely the most decorated house on our street, which means we get people coming to look at our house – it’s fun! All the credit to my husband and older son, who do the decorating.

  6. I am not a big Halloween person either but I enjoy it way more now that I have kids! Paul was so excited for the holiday and really enjoyed the decorations in our neighborhood. There is a house with a dinosaur that will have another dino for the Christmas season so that is a favorite house for us! Last year he was pretty scared of the decorations but this year he loved them! We took lots of walks/scooter rides through the neighborhood to enjoy the decorations. He likes to look at the same houses over and over and over again! But it was a fun fall activity that got us outside as a family. And he LOVED trick or treating! He can be pretty shy so I was surprised by how much he enjoyed it!

    1. I can see how Halloween is so much more fun through your kids’ eyes!

  7. Like you, I’m not the biggest fan of Halloween, although it’s fun to see all the decorations. It just signals the beginning of the holiday season and I am all for that!

    The houses in your neighborhood are so cute! I especially love the house with all the pumpkins. So many pumpkins!

    1. Yes, I do love that Halloween signals the beginning of the holiday season. My favorite time of the year :)

  8. I love LOVE Halloween! I put a table in the front of my driveway and decorated it, and placed a bunch of lanterns around it since my house is kinda dark. I had kids just pick treats from the table to keep me covid safe :) I will always dress up and hand out candy, it’s so fun!

    1. Oh how sweet, I love that.

  9. I loved reading about the German traditions and how they are both similar to and VERY different from what we have here in the US. The fact that they are so specific to certain regions is fascinating… makes me wonder whether there are differences between geographic regions / states here in the US. I think we all assume that everyone does things the way they are done in our community, but… that is not necessarily the case!

    Not a fan of Halloween but loved seeing the decorations you shared. People go all out for this! Crazy to someone like me who would happily jettison Halloween and all the associated weirdness. :)

    PS – Thanks for sharing the list of bloggers who are joining in on NaBloPoMo! Maybe I’ll find one or two new ones to follow!

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