I don't know how I feel about Halloween. Theoretically I should like it. A chance to put on a mask, be someone or something else for a while. Kind of like Mardis Gras in France. My father, when he was in town, used to make a big deal of it. My mother couldn't have cared less, so if he was traveling, we'd be lucky to put out a pumpkin and do some candy apples. If we were lucky. As a child, my father would race from house to house with his friends, playing tricks on folks and begging for treats. People they didn't like they'd egg the front door. I remember him talking about his mother, who I never got the opportunity to meet, that used to tell him that people made jack-o'-lanterns out of turnips and carried them around on sticks. She believed in fairies (the scary kind) and thought that the door between the living and the dead opened on this night. I think he believed it too, although he always said it with a laugh.
So some years were a big deal with lots of decorations - fake tombstones he spray painted, a witch who cackled, and lots of cider and chocolate. We'd dress elaborately, planning our costumes far in advance. Germany wasn't (and still isn't) huge on Halloween but it's getting more popular. Since France's backlash against the "chattering masses," led by the Roman Catholic Church and the anti-American consumer sentiment, Halloween has all but disappeared from France. Since Germany would (and does) something just to thwart France, Halloween has made a come-back. Germany, as is her typical fashion, always has to go to the extreme so Halloween is less about cute dress-up baby and doggie costumes than it is about how ghoulish one can be. The more gruesome, the better. Kids don't really go house to house, too fearful of razor blades and arsenic, but there are big community parties all over town.
My father would start planning early and get us to join in. Even my mother would be infected by his humour, although she'd sigh and roll her eyes and complain about the mess and money spent. Some years my father really went crazy and would rig the small house so lights flickered and haunted voices came out - usually in English as the best Halloween stuff came from his trips to the States and the UK.
Halloween was never my favorite holiday. My sister adored it though, and being older, it was fun to watch her get excited and dress up. She'd share her special time with him, which was ok, because I "got" him for Christmas. I have no kids myself, so I enjoy pictures of my sister's son, who makes a HUGE production of Halloween every year, keeping up the tradition of my father.
Some pictures of my sister and I from Halloweens past...