Vacances de Toussaint - Halloween - what's going on?

Do you get into the spirit of Halloween? Or do you close the shutters and pretend you are not in? We now have 3 girls who get very excited at the thought of dressing up, parading through the village with lanterns and being given sacks full of bon bons.

New vocab for us last year included Friandises ou bêtises - Trick or Treat and Se Deguiser/ To dress up or Deguisements dressing up costumes. BTW Asda do a great range (v cheap and deliver to France for £10 - worth grouping up with friends to do an order? - most of the list below you can find on Asda for around £8 - £14 including adults.

  • Un fantôme – a ghost

  • Un vampire – a vampire

  • Une sorcière – a witch

  • Un diable – a devil

  • Une momie – a mummy

  • Un monstre – a monster

  • Une chauve-souris – a bat

  • Une araignée – a spider

  • Une toile d’araignée – a spider web

  • Un chat noir – a black cat

Traditionally in France, of course the celebration around this date is actually the Catholic holiday of "la Toussaint", which is on November 1st and is a rather sad celebration when family mourn their dead and go to the cemetery to clean up the tombs, bring flowers, and pray.

Chrysanthenums seem to have become associated with dying and death and one of the first mistakes we made when we came here was putting two beautiul chrysanthenums outside our front door (as we used to do in England). Our neighbour kindly told us - they are only for dead now you know - they will be everywhere but don't be tempted to put them on your doorstep!

hopefully the costumes will be genuinely fireproof - just in case and bearing in mind Claudia Winklemans daughters costume in Uk last year. there was an interesting interview with a Fire Officer today and a short clip in a classroom, showing kids how to stay safe in the event of clothes catching fire

  • good one for kids…immediate action being…STOP - DROP - ROLL!

    He got them to remember the words by doing the actions, both palms and arms stretched out in front of them, then not literally drop, but get down to ground level quickly, arms behind head but flat on ground and then roll over and over, to ensure any flame extinguished virtually immediately! sadly the pretty costumes for girls with the Tuile and satin skirts, are still definitely not fireproof in Uk the fire officer said and the demo was pretty frightening.

    on a happier note however,

    I had kids at the door every year in the Herault, and here last year, but it was always the smaller and younger ones. (Much less aggressive than in Uk where one year we had a raw egg thrown at front door about 8.30 pm because we didn’t open door to them, having had a few different ones round earlier.

    over here a bowl with some Bon bons in it for them to pick and choose from and they happily went on their way, chewing one and clutching a couple or so others, but they were quite young and a parent was standing by watching. Good job you put the discussion on Suzanne, a timely reminder for me to get some sweets in! Good luck with all your efforts on the day ladies!

Halloween as you say just isn't a big deal here. In the larger towns ok kids will go out and trick or treat in local shops but out in the sticks in our commune no one does it. However the local cemetry is getting busy with the clean up. Which reminds me I must clean up my mil's grave for my French husband. It will be a hard toussaint for us as she died earlier this year having been taking ill (generalised cancer) almost exactly a year ago

I did that too when I first arrived,the chrysanthenums looked so lovely,I had no idea they were for the dead. I find Halloween a bit pathetic here,the kids think just putting a scary mask on is enough and I never know if they're going to call at the door.One year I stocked up on tons of sweets from M&S,thinking that would be something a bit different and noone came by,so I don't bother now. I'm always amused when they moan about Halloween being some American import,I used to do trick and treat in my wee Scottish village over 50yrs ago

When I was first here, I also bought them for my house!