Halloween is in full swing right now. You can’t see it adorned on the lawns and doors of Swedish homes, but don’t let that fool you. It’s on baby. Celebrations for me and my family will be straddling two weekends this year. Heck, we’re so chock-o’ Halloween we have a Halloween-activity schedule.
I’m obviously a raving rogue witch
(feel free to rhyme that with any other name, it’s all good)
since I’m of the opinion that Halloween, as we Americans know and love it, is settling in on the Swedish pop culture. According to an article in Dagens Nyheter (sorry Swedish only) Halloween is losing [economic] speed (giggle word “fart” in that Swedish title). Thankfully The Local has published its own similar article.
The “proof” is the declining commercial sales of Halloween-related junk, ehem, goods. Swedes are not decorating consumers (except for Christmas and Easter). They aren’t going to deck out the house with ghouls and jack-o-lanterns (though I miss that from life in Beantown and its environs). I’m relieved that the craze that hit all the stores, I mean everywhere, around 2000 is ebbing. The local supermarket had all sorts of Halloween specials on anything they wanted to promote that week. I had people asking me what kind of foods we served for Halloween as if it were similar to Thanksgiving.
Now it seems that people are seeing it more as a kiddie theme holiday, an opportunity to have a masquerade party (that’s what the school is calling the party this evening) and dress up kids for some ghoulish fun.
Speaking of ghoulish, ghostly, spooky and all that haunted stuff. While the overall mood of Halloween is scary the costumes don’t have to be. We know that, but it’s been hard to convince Swedes. At our now defunct annual adult Halloween parties, 95% of the Swedes came in a gruesome or witchy outfit. Today, Swedes are understanding that costumes can be anything under the sun.
Here’s a very unscary (well, in the traditional sense) costume for sale by a friend on a Swedish on-line auction site, Tradera (similar to eBay) and it’s getting bids.
And as the CEO from Buttericks, Stockholm’s favorite shop for costumes and props, points out their sales have increased since 2003 and there are lines of customers out the door around Halloween. He also says (and I love him for this) that he wants to see Halloween as a masquerade event and not as a spooky holiday. Finally, a public voice to echo what I’ve been saying for 17 years.
One of our many events is our neighborhood’s second annual trick-or-treating street-wide (or should that be street-long?) event for local children. I organized it last year and it really surprised me how in to it the whole bunch of them were. (Last year’s blog entry about it.) And we’re doing it contrary to the 31st schedule and tying it into the public holiday, Allahelgon, next weekend. We’re creating a hybrid so to say.
So the retail sector can sulk in their declining Halloween-propaganda sales and proclaim that Halloween is on its way out. But if the spirit of children-related activities is an indicator of Halloweens-yet-to-come my future grandchildren will be knocking on Swedish doors saying “Bus eller goodies” (Trick or Treat).
Have a happy and safe Halloween everyone!