Celebrating Halloween in France


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Celebrating Halloween in France

What’s it really like celebrating Halloween in France?

One of the many reasons we chose to move to the beautiful Charente countryside was that we saw life as less ‘commercial’ than in the UK. We wanted to get away from the whole ‘Easter eggs are on the shelves in January’ thing and to stop being as driven by consumerism.

This ideal versus reality really hit home when we first moved here, as it was VERY different for our children! They had been used to Halloween events at our local community centre, discos, apple bobbing, fancy dress, the works!

We couldn’t find a Halloween Party anywhere or very much Halloween paraphernalia in those days.

Luckily, we heard of a lady running an ‘English’ bar who was doing pumpkin carving and a few activities for the children. What was initially a bit of an adjustment, we have grown to like. Halloween in France is simple and family-based.

However, things are changing!

Celebrating Halloween in France

These days, out-of-town shopping centres stock Halloween goods and local towns now offer Halloween activities. For example, in our nearby town of Aigre 16140, there is a costume parade in the town centre, rewarded by sweets given by the shopkeepers and an evening meal in the Salle des Fetes.

Being conscious of our impact on our environment, we try to buy less plastics and go home-made for a re-use, recycle ethos where we can. Pumpkins and squashes are in abundance, so we always have a display and the children carve them with their friends.

We host our own party which involves an array of home-baked ‘spooky’ food and games. Why not share a few British traditions with your French friends and neighbours, too!

Halloween in France : Vocabulary cheat sheet

Halloween is a great opportunity to learn some new French vocabulary – here are some essentials!

costume           un déguisement

bat                    une chauve-souris

 black cat          un chat noir

 devil                  un diable

 ghost                 un fantôme

Grim Reaper     la Faucheuse

monster            un monstre

mummy            une momie

 scarecrow        un épouvantail

 skeleton           un squelette

 spider               une araignée

 vampire           un vampire

 werewolf         un loup-garou

 witch                 une sorcière

 witch’s hat       un chapeau de sorcière, un chapeau pointu

 zombie               un zombie

And remember, we don’t ask for a TRICK or a TREAT in France, we ask for sweets or a spell:

« Des bon-bons ou un sort ! »

Happy Halloween!

Local Life in France

From shopping at the supermarket to sending a parcel at Post Office, finding your local dechetterie to who to call in an emergency—FrenchEntrée is here to help with every aspect of day-to-day living in France. Read our Essential Reading guides for advice on living in France, visit our Shopping zone or Pets zone, or brush up your language skills with our handy learning French resources.

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Carol, a teacher from Hurworth in Darlington, lives in Charente in South-West France, where she runs La Grue Gites with her family.

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