Halloween in France

About ten years ago, towards the end of October, French shops were full of dark or orange decorations, children asked their neighbours for sweets, and young people dressed up before meeting their friends and having a party on the theme of monsters and witches. However, nowadays, Halloween is almost not celebrated. What are the reasons for this loss of interest? Why don’t the French celebrate Halloween as much as people do in the UK?

An “Artificial” Celebration
At the beginning, Halloween was a Celtic celebration. It was brought to the USA by the Irish and has nothing to do with French traditions. In 1997, the situation started to change and companies and salesmen started to use the celebration to offer a change from the monotonous autumn months and from the days that shorten progressively. An orange mobile phone called « Olaween » was sold by France Télécom, and the theme park Eurodisney organized specific Halloween events. But despite the enthusiasm from shopkeepers, clients were not deluded; they could see no real meaning behind these efforts and, after a few years, people started to lose interest.

Too Close to All Hallows
The catholic day of All Hallows happens on 1st November, the day after Halloween. Halloween, which is a pagan feast, is therefore seen as a risk or a form of competition for the religious event. The French Catholic Church has even decided to offer an alternative to Halloween with a celebration on the day of All Hallows, called « Holy wins ».

The Americanization of France?
Another reason for the controversy about Halloween – the fact that Halloween is seen as an American tradition. The opponents to globalization and the Americanization of the world thus said they did not approve of this celebration which they consider American despite its Celtic origins.


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