Halloween

Halloween was always my favorite holiday. It probably has something to do with the thespian in me…dressing up in costume, pretending to be someone else, living out a fantasy…I quickly learned that Halloween in the States is much different from Halloween in Reunion.

To start with, pretty much ALL Americans get into the Halloween spirit, and it starts in the beginning of October. Halloween goes hand in hand with thefall. In Michigan, we would always go to cider mills and eat fresh donuts and drink warm apple cider in the forest. In Texas, we’d have pumpkincarving contests on the patio at the local bar. Haunted houses were on every corner. EVERYONE decorated their homes in spider webs, tombs, and other spooky things. And then, the weekend of Halloween, we’d always have an amazing costume party. Scary movies would scream in the background. Everyone dressed up—kids, adults, dogs, cats, and we’d drink way too much vodka punch out of a smoking cauldron.

The American version of Halloween may be incredibly commercialized, but it’s fun that way! You can dress up as anything you want—Spiderman, a princess, President Obama…it doesn’t HAVE to be scary. In France and especially in Reunion, it seems that many people are afraid of Halloween. Here, they have kept the real origins of Halloween and so it’s equated to horror, the dead, the scary.

I learned this when I threw my first Halloween party in La Possession, our group costumes included 3 devils, one witch, and the rest of the guys wore ugly masks that came off the moment they opened their first beers. We couldn’t find any pumpkins to carve, so someone tried the same thing with a watermelon and a coconut. We didn’t have any creatively themed desserts, but I did spend a little too much time making spooky appetisers. There were no kids to take trick-or-treating…but I did have a little trick up MY sleeve….

I was planning on secretly setting up my friend Julie, (who was part of my original host family when I first arrived in Reunion,) with Richard’s friend Christian. Julie came to the party in a pink wig and cat-eye contact lenses, and still it was still love at first sight! The two of them hit it off and interestingly enough, they just got married a few months ago.

So I guess it goes to show you…you never know what you might encounter on Halloween night!

Vocabulary

To dress up – se déguiser
The States – les Etats Unis
The fall – l’automne
Cider mill – cidrerie
Pumpkin – citrouille

To carve – sculpter
Spider web – toile d’araignée
Spooky – qui donne la chair de poule
To scream – crier
Cauldron – chaudron

To throw a party – organiser une fête
Devil – diable
Witch – sorcière
To come off – enlever
Watermelon – pastèque

Trick-or-treat – bonbons ou un sort
A trick up my sleeve – un tour dans mon sac
Wig – perruque
To set up – jouer les entremetteurs
To encounter – rencontre

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