Sunday, October 24, 2010

On Halloween, sort of

Halloween is coming up. So what? I'm Norwegian, we don't really do Halloween here. Well, we have started to celebrate it the last few years, but when I was a kid, there was no such thing as trick or treat. The only I knew about Halloween, I got from American movies and the annual Halloween card sent to me from my American relatives.

Halloween is a commercial wet dream, though, so the retail business have done a considerable job of adopting it the last few years. We now have kids running from door to door (though nowhere near the amount they have in the US), we have Halloween parties, and the larger grocery stores even stock up on pumpkins for carving (a very un-Norwegian vegetable).

Personally, I like the idea of Halloween even if I think that the commercial aspect of it (especially here where we don't really have the tradition) is a bit silly. Though, it's not entirely true that we don't have the tradition - we do have the church holiday Allehelgensaften which originated (like Halloween, I believe) in the Catholic church, and somehow stuck as one of the minor celebrations in the Norwegian Lutheran church after Catholicism was abolished in the 16th century. Or something. My knowledge of the subject is limited, because even if this technically is a church celebration it isn't one of the big ones (and I'm not much of a church-person).

Anyway. Halloween is here to stay, apparently, and I think that in the future I'd like to celebrate it more. Dress-up, scary movies, pumpkin carving (and -cupcakes, or something pumkinish pastryish), lanterns, decorations - I'm all for it. Next year. This year, I probably won't even remember to celebrate my own birthday (which is on Allehelgensdag, the day after Halloween)... Instead, I intend to "celebrate" Halloween here on the blog. For the last week of NaBloWriMo (and probably the last week of everyday/regular blogging for me for a while), then, there will be a Halloween themed post up. Most of them will be just pictures (though funny pics, if I say so myself), some of them might contain more. We shall see...

20 comments:

M.J. Nicholls said...

I'll be celebrating Halloween for the first time this year. Never too late to pretend to be interested!

Cruella Collett said...

Will you be trick-and-treating? Will you be wearing a costume? Will you be writing about it afterwards? Will you be doing it for the free candy?

Carole Anne Carr said...

Love the blog and the giraffes, and interested in hearing about events in other countries other than my own......
Carole.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

How sad you missed out on trick or treating as a kid. You need to make up for lost candy!

Summer said...

But you also have to have your mother make you inspect each piece of candy for potential "needle holes"! There was something of a candy-poisoning scare around the late 80's/early 90's, and my mom never let go...heh.

Cruella Collett said...

Carole Anne - thank you! In reality we don't really have our own Halloween traditions here, but the imported ones are here to stay, it seems!

Alex - oh, I'm not sure I missed out on the candy even if I didn't get to trick or treat. Interestingly we have a similar (but almost extinct) tradition at Christmas - I must write about that sometime!

Summer - yikes! That's horrible! Not that your mother took precautions (though I can see how that would be annoying for a kid), but that someone would do that. Talk about taking the "scare" part of Halloween too literally!

nonamedufus said...

Ah, trick or treating as a kid. I single-handidly kept my dentist in business back then.

Jemi Fraser said...

When my parents emigrated to Canada they didn't have a clue about Halloween & just about flipped when these kids showed up at the door in costumes :)

welcome to my world of poetry said...

I'll re-post my halloween poem when I get my pc up and running properly again. I enjoyed your post,
Yvonne.

Kelly said...

Halloween was lots of fun when I was a kid. My kids didn't get to enjoy it the same ways I did and it's even more different now for my granddaughter. I live in the country and never get trick-or-treaters, but I still have some flashing skeletons draped the the window behind me.
:)

jaybee-bug said...

I find it fascinating that Halloween has spread to other countries-- apparently it's also spread to Australia and the United Kingdom, so now I'm real curious how many other countries have started to pick up the weird tradition. I grew up adoring the holiday, my family was always really into it. Decorating the house has always been a huge creative project (the kids that come by really love the effort we put into it) and we've had ellaborate Halloween parties before & invited all the neighbors (& converted our house into a mini 'haunted house'), Halloween-themed food etc. Now that everyone's older and busy with school and/or jobs we do much less these days, but I still sometimes enjoy the excuse to get into costume.
Actually, this is funny-- I just bought a pumpkin today for carving, I've made my own pattern to print out and carve. This isn't a very 'spooky' pattern, but, you might find it amusing:
http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v674/jaybee_bug/fire_engine_2.jpg
If you do end up doing the pumpkin carving this year or sometime in the future, I'm happy to offer tips. :)
(Re: candy inspection. Oh goodness yes. My mum would inspect every single piece of candy after trick-or-treating. She was very picky and would toss out things sometimes she wasn't sure about, and I'd get upset when she tossed good ones. Heh!)

M.J. Nicholls said...

^^ Wow, that's a big comment. To answer your questions (damn you!) I will be attending av evening of scary story readings while eating candy. I will be too stuffed to blog after.

Cruella Collett said...

Noname - I can imagine how Halloween must be the fav holiday for any dentist!

Jemi - haha, must have been a shock!

Yvonne - maybe your computer was too focused on the tricks, and not enough on the treat? Good luck getting it worked out!

Kelly - tee hee, it took me a minute to realize that the flashing probably had to do with lights... (What would a skeleton have to flash anyway?)

Jay - LOVE the pumpkin pattern! You must share it with Adam! And it sounds like you know how to celebrate Halloween properly!

Mark - I learned from the best (didn't I?)... Have fun at your event - scream like a girl on my behalf, will you?

Cold As Heaven said...

First time I saw Halloween celebration, ever, was when we lived in Colorado 12 years ago

Cold As Heaven

jaybee-bug said...

Yeah, sorry for the massive comment. I talk way too much. I'll be sure to share photos if I manage to get that pattern carved successfully. *shuts up now*

sue said...

I've enjoyed reading about Halloween from people where it's a long tradition. It almost sounds fun :)

I was in a 'transit' hotel at Heathrow last year on halloween and was really surprised to see pumpkin decorations at the restaurant there (they'd had a staff pumpkin carving contest) and adults dressed up going to parties - amazing!

In Australia it's hard not to be really cynical as it's not part of our heritage at all, and seems to be a marketers and sweet manufacturers dream come true: purely a money making venture.

I close the blinds, lock the doors and pretend I'm out - which makes me sound like a real grump. (which I'm not, honestly)

Hope the thesis is almost finished.

Jen said...

You should make a haunted house! That's the best part of Halloween.

Pat Tillett said...

I love halloween.
We geat about 150 kids trick-or-treating at our house. We usually have a small party in our garage and the kids can just walk up to the open door and get their sugar fixes.

Cruella Collett said...

CAH - last year I left the US on the day before Halloween. It wasn't till after I'd booked my flight I realized what a shame it was to miss out on the real thing...

Jay - pfft! Don't mind Mark - he's just jealous :P I condone long comments and short comment and blue comments and spotted comments and comments of every kind! (Besides, I write the longest comments myself, so I'm kind of in a glass house...)

Sue - I've actually been foolish enough to think that Halloween was an all-English-speaking-world tradition! It's exactly the same here - all commercial - and I don't think your reaction sounds all that weird. I'm very much a holiday person, though, so even though imported ones usually are all about the money, I can't help but like it a little....

Jen - haha, great idea! Perhaps at the university, where me and my fellow thesisers already look like ghouls... ;)

Pat - that's really cool! The folks I stayed with in the US last year did something similar - I really wish I could have been there to see it :)

Hannah Kincade said...

I could watch scary movies all year round but I prefer this time of year and getting into the spirit of things. And most importantly, mini reeses peanut butter cups. That is all.

Related Posts with Thumbnails