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  #21  
Old 17.09.2010, 19:01
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Re: Can I "trick or treat" on Halloween?

I hate to say it, but it is really NOT a Swiss custom and only very recently introduced here. Personally I never mind small children coming, but in the UK I hated some of the older 'yobs' whose behaviour was bordering on the threatening.

So aks around your neighbours and see how they react.
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Old 17.09.2010, 19:28
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Re: Can I "trick or treat" on Halloween?

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Can anyone tell me when the swiss celebrate halloween, is it on 31st October ?
...
Halloween = Hallowe'en = All Hallow's Eve. That's the evening before All Saints Day, which always falls on 1st November.

So, if it's celebrated at all, it's going to be on the 31st of October.

To the OP. I'm not American, didn't grow up under the tradition, and frankly can't stand it. So, please, stick to the decorated house, and leave mine alone.
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Old 17.09.2010, 19:56
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Re: Can I "trick or treat" on Halloween?

One of my daughter's big desappointment last year..not celebrated in her kindergarden , not fancy dress and nobody rang our bell... this year I think she integrated so well in the Swiss culture ,she won't even remember about Halloween ( only if they mention it on Cbeebies!). Personnally it's just as well as we are a French/German family so it's not into our tradition..But it was in her British school in Shanghai for 4 years until me moved here.
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Old 17.09.2010, 19:59
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Re: Can I "trick or treat" on Halloween?

Thanks for reminding me why I keep a dog .
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Old 17.09.2010, 20:22
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Re: Can I "trick or treat" on Halloween?

we had some trick or treaters last year but in the days before and after halloween mostly. it has always been a huge day for us- i love it and so does my son- so we decided to have our own party- kids in the late afternoon and adults later on. huge success! all of our swiss friends went all out on costumes and the only ones without costumes were the americans!

it was a good way to keep the tradition and invite others to celebrate with us- party games and all. looks like we have to keep up the tradition as we've been told to have another this year.

i think if you aren't sure if people celebrate a holiday you enjoy- have your own celebration and invite them to it- that way you can keep it going and usually, everyone else will enjoy it as much as you do!
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Old 17.09.2010, 20:31
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Re: Can I "trick or treat" on Halloween?

Contrary to most of what I've read in this thread, trick or treating is very popular in our neighbourhood (near Uster). We get at least 40-50 kids coming round. But, as an earlier post recommended, I'd ask around and find out what the status is where you live.

Kids start coming round our place about 5.30pm (on October 31st, of course!) and usually the last bunch is about 8.30pm. It's mostly younger kids with parents.

I'll take our almost 4-year-old around this year - probably just to the houses in our "Siedlung" and maybe the apartments below us. That should be enough candy to get us through til Christmastime!!

The kids coming to our door say, "Süsses oder Saures" (Sweet or Sour), or else "Süssigkeiten oder Streich" (Sweets or Trick).

Have fun if you go out!
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Old 17.09.2010, 20:37
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Re: Can I "trick or treat" on Halloween?

When did halloween become esclusively american? I thought it was a fairly ancient pre christian / celtic festival. Certainly in Ireland, we've been collecting for halloween parties since...well forever as far as I can see (none of your trick or treat nonsense!). In fact the obligation when I was a nipper was on you to perform for your nuts or mandrin orange, a song or ditty usually sufficed.

Our kids went just to preorganised houses last year, as swissies see it as american and close to begging..
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Old 17.09.2010, 21:10
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Re: Can I "trick or treat" on Halloween?

IIRC, the custom originated in Ireland. But to the best of my knowledge, came into the UK from the US. When I was a kid, growing up in Yorkshire, we had mischeavious night - 4th November.
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Old 17.09.2010, 21:22
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Re: Can I "trick or treat" on Halloween?

We did not have halloween in France until it started to come in for commercial reasons... our tradition is on November 1st "la Toussaint " a religious celebration when we honor the saints and the dead people. On that day, we're supposed to go to the graveyard to our dead relatives..
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Old 17.09.2010, 21:35
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Re: Can I "trick or treat" on Halloween?

Last year the door rang on an afternoon and a kid in some kind of toga costume was mumbling something. When I asked what he wanted, the mum jumped out of her hiding and explained to me in Swiss German that the kid is in fact a ghost and that it would be Halloween and he wanted sweets. And I suddenly remembered the South Park episode in which Cartman dressed up as Hitler for Halloween... anyway: I was not prepared and completely did not understand that kids do this over here - they never did. It is not only Un-Swiss, but simply unknown. I never missed Halloween as we have a very similar tradition on

Wikipedia reference-linkWalpurgis_Night

We did the "trick without treat option" back then...

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In rural parts of southern Germany, it is part of popular youth culture to play pranks such as tampering with neighbours' gardens, hiding possessions, or spraying graffiti on private property. These pranks occasionally result in serious damage to property or bodily injury.
Parents might know that the kids see so much US TV that they copy it, non-parents have no clue... so I would only send your kids to other parents' houses.
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Old 17.09.2010, 21:56
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Re: Can I "trick or treat" on Halloween?

Halloween has returned to Europe via the US.
But it is an ancient tradition dating back to the Romans.

The Celtic tradition believed that once a year the spirits and the Prince Samain would return to collect the living and take them to the underworld.

When the Celtic and Roman cultures spliced, the Romans used the same holiday for their Fall harvest festival Pomona, celebrating the end of Summer.

Then the Catholic Church wishing to impose Christianity on the Pagan world, often took advantage of a local cultural festivity to change it into a Holy day. So in the 4th century they moved the All Saints Day from May to Nov, to superpose the Samain festivity.

It explains the origins of ghosts, witches, wizards, fruits/nuts/turnips (not pumpkins!) and the deceased.

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Old 17.09.2010, 21:57
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Re: Can I "trick or treat" on Halloween?

Actually last year i bought quite lots of sweets to be prepared but as i 've said earlier, no body came, nothing happened... my daughter and I ate them all...
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  #33  
Old 17.09.2010, 22:10
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Re: Can I "trick or treat" on Halloween?

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Contrary to most of what I've read in this thread, trick or treating is very popular in our neighbourhood (near Uster).

The kids coming to our door say, "Süsses oder Saures" (Sweet or Sour), or else "Süssigkeiten oder Streich" (Sweets or Trick).
The way people think adopted holidays like Halloween (or Valentine's Day) "should be" can be so refreshing. When two swiss kids, dressed to thier (vampire) teeth came knocking in Lucerne and got apples (for the lack of something sweeter to give them), there were no tricks. Not even a bit of disappointment. They sort of looked at the fruit, then started beaming and said, "Wow! That's healthy! What a great idea!" And went merrily on their way.
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Old 17.09.2010, 22:26
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Re: Can I "trick or treat" on Halloween?

Personally I really can't stand halloween. As a parent I really can't understand why parents would want to encourage their kids to go round and basically threaten people into giving them sweets. Give me sweets or I'll do something nasty to you. I mean, really? Isn't that the exact opposite of everything we try to teach our kids?? [Sigh, steps down of soap box! ]

Anyway, round here there aren't many kids but last year we had one group of kids who had no idea what they were doing. None dressed up, no parents, just rang the doorbell, said nothing. I gave them some sweets out of sympathy and they cleared off.

This year I think we won't bother answering the door.

If it's something you really want to do then I would get together with a few families you know and visit only pre-warned and participating houses. Definitely would not knock on doors of people who are not pre-warned as they would probably have no idea and might even be offended.

I personally hope that Switzerland stays anti-trick or treat because I really don't like it.
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Old 17.09.2010, 22:27
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Re: Can I "trick or treat" on Halloween?

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When did halloween become esclusively american?
I am not American. I grew up in Denmark. The long standing tradition there is "burning the witches". The neighborhood gets together in a community park (or more traditionally the beach) and builds a great big bonfire with big witch dolls on top and witch screamers (firecrackers that scream like witches as they go off) cleverly placed inside. Usually a song or two is sung together. Kids dress up and eat some sweets while the adults drink Tuborg and Carlsberg all night.
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Old 17.09.2010, 22:32
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Re: Can I "trick or treat" on Halloween?

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As a parent I really can't understand why parents would want to encourage their kids to go round and basically threaten people into giving them sweets. Give me sweets or I'll do something nasty to you.
What's the deal with being mean on Halloween, I've never seen this, or heard of it till now!!?? It's certainly not my parenting. Yes, please don't encourage your children to do this.

Halloween for me is just a fun night to dress up with your children and visit the neighbors to see what clever costumes they made... maybe a bit of candy to be collected as incentive. IMHO.

P.S. It's also a community experience. One of the few times in the year (if not the only) that you get to actually speak with some of the further away neighbors. And in a relaxed setting. Neighborhood awareness is important from both sides. Certainly not an excuse to pull pranks on the neighbors. But I guess I have had a different experience than most on here.

Last edited by AngelB; 17.09.2010 at 22:40. Reason: the PS
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Old 17.09.2010, 22:41
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Re: Can I "trick or treat" on Halloween?

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What's the deal with being mean on Halloween, I've never seen this, or heard of it till now!!??
It's like the (fabulous?) crucified Santa in Japan: trick or treating at Hallowe'en is not part of Swiss (or English, for that matter) culture: there is no weight of tradition or childhood experience behind the actions of those who decide that this fancy American custom is a good idea and, effectively, anything goes.

Hallowe'en was celebrated in my part of England during my childhood in the seventies, but only in the form of dressing up parties and witches' brew poems at school - our first notion of trick or treating arrived with ET in 1980 or thereabouts, and was pounced upon with glee by the local ne'er-do-wells who saw it as a wonderful excuse to throw eggs at the houses of innocent strangers and generally cause mischief.

This is why, fundamentally, trick or treating is incompatible with Swiss (and English) culture. We never did it when we were kids, so we don't get the innocence and cuteness that North Americans clearly do.

Fasnacht is fun, though.
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  #38  
Old 17.09.2010, 22:47
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Re: Can I "trick or treat" on Halloween?

The threatening tricks and asking for sweets is the American import version.
Apples and nuts, traditional food and games and bonfires are the more traditional Irish version. Healthier and more sociable!
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Old 17.09.2010, 22:47
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Re: Can I "trick or treat" on Halloween?

I was the guy just out of frame when Linus sat in the backyard patch waiting for the Great Pumpkin to arise. It never did appear and I was never convinced that sucking your thumb with that daft blanket aged 19 was a particularly cool habit either.
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Old 17.09.2010, 23:41
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Re: Can I "trick or treat" on Halloween?

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What's the deal with being mean on Halloween, I've never seen this, or heard of it till now!!?? It's certainly not my parenting. Yes, please don't encourage your children to do this.

Halloween for me is just a fun night to dress up with your children and visit the neighbors to see what clever costumes they made... maybe a bit of candy to be collected as incentive. IMHO.

P.S. It's also a community experience. One of the few times in the year (if not the only) that you get to actually speak with some of the further away neighbors. And in a relaxed setting. Neighborhood awareness is important from both sides. Certainly not an excuse to pull pranks on the neighbors. But I guess I have had a different experience than most on here.
Isn't that just forcing your kids and your idea of a good time on the neighbourhood ??
I hate this need to Americanise the whole of Europe...
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