by Amy Betz | Staff Writer
Halloween is a very essential holiday in America. Kids throughout the country love to dress up as their favorite characters and get free candy from neighbors. But, the holiday is not celebrated the same in different places in the world.
According to German international student Alina Weismann, everyone loves Halloween in Germany, especially people under 35.
During the Halloween season, Germans love to watch horror movies and enjoy taking walks at night through spooky places like graveyards and the woods. “Lots of night walking during and before this time. We love our night walks if it’s around Halloween,” Weismann said.
People in Germany carve pumpkins and make pumpkin-based dishes just like people do in the US, and they also enjoy going through corn mazes. There’s a corn labyrinth at a farmhouse near where Weismann lives, where the corn is higher than 2 meters high. “It’s dark and you can only see the moon above.”
Families get their fortunes told in tents, adults drink lots of beer — like all other German holidays — and children love to go to the zoo to see the animals at night. Children also love to play on mountains of straw, trying to “claim” them for their teams.
On the night of Halloween, there are big companies that exchange gummy bears and other candies for conkers and other things that fall off of trees, which children collect for huge amounts of treats. “We are wandering around finding these conkers, especially the kids, they love it,” Wiesmann explained.
Kids don’t go door to door on Halloween, but instead go two weeks later on November 11 and sing songs in exchange for sweets. As for costumes, “Most people are going as witches or scary things,” Alina said. For instance, her little brother always dresses up as a bat.
Children also love to have Halloween parties, where “they sit down in candlelight, if the parents want to do something special for them, and get read a scary book, like German tales, which can be quite scary.” In Germany, Halloween is a fun time for families to bond and children to have tons of fun. “It’s all of us coming together in autumn, which is a great feeling.”
Jose Javier Herrera Quilon, a Spanish international student, explains that Halloween isn’t much different in Spain than it is in the United States. Spanish people celebrate Halloween on October 31 and Dia de Todos los Santos (All Saints’ Day) on November 1.
Young people like to go to parties on the holiday, and although trick or treating isn’t a common practice throughout the country, children in Herrera Quilon’s neighborhood participate in it. “We don’t see it as a religious holiday, but as a commercial thing,” Herrera Quilon explained. “People use it to make money.”
Older people, however, celebrate much differently. The day after Halloween is Dia de Todos los Santos, the motto of which is nadie más muerto que el olvidado — one is not dead until they are forgotten. This is more of a religious holiday. “Older people go to the cemeteries on Nov 1st to pay tribute to their dead family,” Herrera Quilon said. Much like Dia de Los Muertos in Mexico, this holiday is a time of loving commemoration of the dead and celebration of life.
As for Herrera Quilon, he enjoys celebrating Halloween by buying a costume and having fun at parties with his friends. “This is what most people do in Spain.”