Halloween in Stockholm blows away Halloween in Boston.
OK, before anyone gets too worked up with indignation, rolls up sleeves and lashes back, let me make that more precise. Trick-or-treating for kids on Halloween (well, we did it last night on the eve) on my street in northern Stockholm was better than what I could have imagined my kids could experience in Watertown had I brought them there to try it out.
My childhood memory of dressing up and going around the neighborhood conjures powerful emotional ties. If I reflect on days gone by growing up outside of Boston, there is no better memory than getting dressed up in costume and coming home with a pillowcase full of candy (well, snow days and late night sledding before the snowplows came compete for top billing.)
That fuzzy warm nostalgia had made me seriously consider crossing the pond purely to expose the kids to a Halloween night of trick-or-treating, American style. But for cost, time and pragmatic reasons I tried to give it a go with my street’s neighbors.
I put in the legwork (which included knocking on every door to ask if people would want to join in) got every kid on the street to sign up and even imported some friends’ kids to fill up the street.
It was truly magical. Nearly every neighbor was eager to be a part of it. More than half of them carved a pumpkin or lit candles to signal the festivity. Some of them were to so generous that they gave out small bags of candy to each child. It warmed my heart to witness the enthusiasm, hospitality and kindness of my Swedish neighbors.
And so many English-speaking non-Swedes out there think Swedes are so cold, unapproachable and boring. Ha. You haven’t been to my hood. We ROCK!
Happy Halloween to all out there, wherever you may be. And I hope you have as good a Halloween as we’ve had.