What happened to Halloween this year? Have the French given it up as a bad job?
Although Norma had a few desultory bags of last year's unsold Halloween lollypops, and a box of rotting pumpkins with sprayed on black eyes and mouth and the instructions 'Ne pas manger', Intermarche had nothing, and Carrefour a measily corner of costumes, one or two bits of kit and a few bags of sweets.
I had also detected a certain amount of apathy in the lead-up a few days before as I touted around for enthusiasm at the idea of holding a Halloween party. Interest levels crawled up to 'dunno' level so I gave up the idea as a bad job.
Nevertheless, my home-made deccies were all put up : the black bat silhouettes, flaming cauldron with its green frogs jumping in, spider in its web, witch on a broomstick with accompanying black cat (I had a run on black corrugated card that year) and orange pumpkins. It all looks most festive with the orange Veuve Clicquot plastic pumpkin champagne bottle holder in which I put a candle, and other bits and pieces.
Luckily, the boys were keen to go out in search of bonbons in the neighbourhood so our decorating efforts were not wasted. We also had local kids knocking on the door, but no ados like last year - no spotty youths in menacing robes, so it was all jolly and over by 8pm.
Have the French simply lost interest? Apparently various members of the Establishment were up in arms about the imported American festivities, being the party poopers that they are, and started a 'say no to Halloween' campaign which was successful enough for me not to have heard of it. The Church (Catholic) also jumped on the party pooper band waggon and declared Halloween as unfit for a pure French nation to indulge in, it being a) an American import, and b) way too much fun.
As it was probably little more than a passing fad, it just had its moment of glory and then faded out of the French psyche. Nothing wrong with that, but I think people who try to over-analyse why this happened may be obsessing a bit and doing a jobsworth on us. I think crowing over their success at saying 'no' might be a bit misplaced too. They just hit the bandwaggon at the right stop.
Kids will continue to enjoy Halloween whatever the party poopers declare, however. It gives them a chance to dress up as ghosties and witches, look spooky enough to frighten themselves a tiny bit, and the opportunity to dash around the neighbourhood in the dark coyly demanding sweets. That is what it's all about really. It's now a fun occasion for the kids to do their own thing unfettered by adult over-organisation, but in safety.
The deccies are all coming down this weekend, but you can bet your bottom euro they'll all be up again next year!