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Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Appy Alloween

Last night I spent my first Halloween in Paris. (Last year I was in Prague) For Americans, Halloween in France can be rather painful. In the nicest way possible, the French don't "get" Halloween. And even more painfully, they usually think they do.

I was at Ali's apartment last night sitting around the island chatting with her and her French roomates. Halloween came up, and one of the friends smuggly explained to me that "Halloween is something creating by Marketing. Big companies just want you to buy their products." (She was also reading a book that was condemning capitalism and consumerism, and was explaining the evils of Nespresso, a machine she owns) Well, there's no argument against that. But there's a difference between doing Halloween where you buy a bunch of crappy decorations you don't need, or a slutty costume that vaugley resembles a childhood character, and when you carve pumpkins and drink seasonal beer, make bizarre homemade decorations and spend hours with your college roomates designing historically accurate ensembles.

It's definitely a cultural thing, and just because you have some misguided belief that Americans are materialistic, crude, and uncivilized, you do not have the right to immediately discount this beloved made up holiday. (I don't tell you picking mushrooms in the woods with a pig is weird, do I?) Because guess what? You don't get the spirit of Halloween.

What really bothers me here is trying to explain that Halloween is not, as they believe, about being scary, but coming up with a costume that entertains. Sure, you can dress up as a witch, but how much more entertaining/disturbing is a full grown man dressed up as a baby? Or a reference to some abstract character in a Kubrick film? Or, (insert least favorite politician)?

(By the way, Gui Gui and I dressed up as Spy vs Spy, a comic he had never heard of. I don't think he really got it anyway, but he wore all white, and we looked adorable.)

I guess I haven't grown out of dress up. Maybe by next year.

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