Süßes oder Saures or Süßes, sonst gibt’s Saure is what you might hear here in Germany if you happen to live in a relatively American town in Germany, usually near Army bases.
In Germany, suburban houses aren’t turned into haunted houses, fathers don’t lay in the front yard in their gillysuits scary people half to death and children don’t trick or treating until they are high on sugar like in America.
Germany, however, is completely different. Halloween has only been known as an American tradition brought over by soldiers during WWII and again in 1994 when Fasching was cancelled because of the Gulf War, they began pushing for Halloween to make up for the financial loses. Since then, it has slowly become better known, but not widely celebrated.
Therefore, Halloween in Germany is very minuscule compared to the holiday we plan all year for. Americans start planning their new Halloween costumes a few months in advance (if they’re hardcore!) while many Germans barely celebrate Halloween, although it is becoming a more popular growing trend, much to the disappointment of some. What I have seen from living in Germany though are a few costume-goers strolling the streets of Regensburg and bar-hopping. Costume parties for adults can be found, but I have yet to find a German friend willing to throw a Halloween costume party.
Although, you will be hard pressed to find a bar that stays open later than 2am in Germany, as all bars must close earlier than normal on the night of Halloween because the next 24 hours are for remembering the dead and families gather to go together to visit loved ones in the cemeteries. Therefore, it is considered a “quiet day” (stille Tage) and dancing on Good Friday is banned.
It is becoming more and more common to hear children say that they will dress up for Halloween and go trick-or-treating in smaller neighborhoods, have their faces painted or even enjoying the craze for carving pumpkins! So much so, that you can even find a Pumpkin Festival lasting for the entire month of October at the Ludwigsburg Castle outside of Stuttgart!
I spent every year of my life dressing up for Halloween as a princess, bride, clown, fairy, ballerina, a die (singular form of dice!), 50’s diner girl and more. I get so excited every year in Germany for Halloween only to remember there aren’t many options of attending a Halloween party or trick or treating.
Trick or Treat, Smell my feet, Give me something Good to eat!
Another of the main reasons why Halloween isn’t a bigger deal in Germany is because in November and February, Germany celebrate Fasching (Carnival) and they go all out for their costumes.
Unfortunately, I have never seen anyone dress up for Halloween at work EVER in Germany! That would be very unprofessional here. And it makes me sad that there are no office Halloween work parties!
Here are some cool Halloween attractions in Germany:
Be sure to have your big girl panties on to go here! Halloween at Burg Frankenstein in Mühltal not far from Frankfurt am Main. I would definitely be afraid to go here!
For all you sicko horror, thriller movie lovers here is an event you may want to visit: Halloween Horror Fest – I will NOT be attending! 🙂
There is also the Mayen Market “Festival of Magic” which includes a parade, pumpkin carving, costumes, and of course, beer!
An interesting fact:
There is at least one direct German-American Halloween connection. Following the American Civil War, Gustav and Albert Goelitz traveled from Germany to Illinois to join an uncle who had emigrated in 1834. After Gustav’s death, his two eldest sons revived the candy business that he and Albert had founded. The story goes that the Goelitz Confectionery Co. invented the popular Halloween confection known as Candy Corn in the 1880s. Records indicate that Goelitz was making candy corn by 1900. That firm’s successor, today’s Herman Goelitz, Inc. of Fairfield, California, is best known as the maker of Jelly Belly jelly bean candy.