Friday, November 01, 2013

Halloween in Munich


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.

But wait!

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.

4 comments:

Karen/Small Earth Vintage said...

My little street in the US is in a semi-rural/suburban area, and we haven't had trick or treaters since the kids ("young adults") down the road got too old for it. But we still (sometimes) carve a pumpkin, make pumpkin soup, and watch scary movies on Halloween. Maybe Germany had no need for Halloween, what with Krampus? I'm glad you're able to get a taste of Halloween in Munich, anyway.

By the way, we had a magnificent time in Munich earlier in October--thanks in part to many great suggestions from your Design Sponge post and blog. We stayed at an Air Bnb in Mittersendling, and I was so struck by how absolutely *quiet* and yes, private, the neighborhood was. An utterly different feeling from any place I've ever been (and I live, sort of, in the country, on a lake). Anyway, we both fell in love with Munich, and I'm very glad I found your blog. Otherwise we might have eaten at the Augustiner Großgaststätte every night (which wouldn't have been the end of the world; we enjoyed it!). So, vielen Dank!

ereagh said...

Hi Karen, Thanks for your comment! It's the same thing out where my folks live in Sonoma county. I'm so glad the guide was useful!

jeffy said...

We live in what is considered the good part of a medium-sized American city, and so literally hundreds of kids come around and the nearest major street where no one usually parks is filled. It's really something. However we are the only ones on our cul-de-sac with the lights on, and so kids must walk through a little void of darkness from the main branch to get to our house. So... we just get a fraction of the full load. Maybe 60 kids last night? It's a math problem figuring out how much candy to give out. At the end of the night we had 200 pieces or so left over and I was like "darn could've given 3 or 4 each"... Before moving here 4 years ago we always lived in areas that got like 1 or 2 kids a year so this is all new and fun. Another thing we get every year is a few teenagers with no real costume at about 9pm, who then run off and start screaming. Also toilet papers and egging a bit, but really it doesn't bother me too much as long as it doesn't go overboard. Gotta have some "trick" :)

ereagh said...

Sounds fun Jeffy!