Another Halloween as come and gone; the scary masks, the thriller movies, and the candy. So much candy. It was definitely different this year. Halloween has not historically been a celebrated holiday in Austria. However, recently it has become more of a novelty with people decorating their houses with cats and ‘Happy Halloween’ signs, and yes, even participating in trick-or-treat.
This year was the first time the three Thaler kids went trick-or-treating and boy were they excited. We had a witch, a wolf, and a vampire among us as we walked through the neighborhood, ringing gate bells and calling “Süßes oder Saures!” (Sweet or Sour, the German equivalent of “trick-or-treat”) Some houses were really into the holiday and others were not. Either way, it was a cool to walk around with the whole family visiting our neighbors, drinking Glühwein, and helping the kids collect as much candy as possible.
I also helped introduce the tradition of pumpkin carving. THAT was interesting. I never realized it, but it is kind of weird carving pumpkins. We don’t look at other squash and say, “hey, why don’t we cut the top off, stick our hands inside to pull out the guts, and then cut wholes on the sides.” So why do we do this with pumpkins? It’s a mystery. Anyway, teaching children how to carve a pumpkin, in another language, is interesting to say the least. I ended up carving all the pumpkins after they gutted them because all we had were kitchen knives and I don’t know about you, but I don’t like watching six year-olds stabbing things with knives. It’s disconcerting. But, they turned out great in the end. All had cute and traditional jack-o-lantern faces; except for one. One of the kids got really into “carving” and ended up with one big hole. It was pretty hilarious seeing all the pumpkins lined up on the front gate: jack-o-lantern, jack-o-lantern, jack-o-lantern, big whole, jack-o-lantern. It was unique, to say the least.
So, Halloween was a success. The kids got a bunch of candy, I met a bunch of neighbors, and I experienced a whole new way to celebrate a holiday that I never thought of that critically before. It was a great night of family, fun, and candy. Austrian candy. You can’t ask for anything better.