A short comparison of the months leading up to October 31st in two of my favorite places on the planet:
July in USA: Halloween decorations begin to appear in stores, prepare yourselves.
July in Paris: Paris Plages and glasses of rosé are enjoyed by all.
August in USA: Halloween decorations begin to take over stores, pumpkin spice countdown is on, what are you going to be for Halloween?!?!
August in Paris: Parisians leave for month long holiday, tourists arrive.
September in USA: Pumpkin spice everything is everywhere, there is no escape and it doesn’t matter that it’s still 75 and sunny out, CONSUME THE PUMPKIN SPICE!
September in Paris: Parisians are back, favorite bakeries open for business again and all is right with the world.
October in USA: Halloween items on discount, winter themed decorations appear (prepare for peppermint!) and DID YOU KNOW THERE ARE ONLY 10 WEEKENDS UNTIL CHRISTMAS???
October in Paris: Signs of fall are peppered lightly into normal life with perhaps a small display at the local bakery.
Trying to muster up the Halloween spirit in Paris is a bit difficult. Perhaps not the spirit so much as the decorations, seasonal food and other accoutrements that we’re used to seeing come August back in the States. Cinnamon pumpkin double latte spice candles are replaced by absolutely nothing. That works well until just about the second week of October when my spidey senses kick in and I feel the need to be festive.
Last year I scoured the city for anything even remotely resembling spookiness but came back empty handed every time. That is until that fateful Tuesday I walked passed our neighborhood Lidl and saw the flyers posted for Halloween week. Procrastination be damned- they were celebrating the season just in time, with a handful of Halloween items (read: three, lest we get carried away) and the ever elusive French pumpkin (mon dieu!).
For those unaware, as I was, Paris doesn’t do pumpkins. It’s a vegetable after all and better saved for things like soup and well, soup. And that is why, I suppose, Lidl’s pumpkins looked more sickly than how I felt after consuming the black Halloween inspired pasta I simply had to purchase.
What you see above is the #nofilter Holy Grail of Halloween in France. It includes the following:
1. Some snack that can only be described as chip-esque in the form of hybrid batspiders and cobwebs that pretty much tasted like a cross between cardboard and newspaper with an ever so slight hint of garlic. Still though, better than black pasta.
2. An albino gourde in a cocoon of cardboard that actually says Halloween (just in case you forgot) that looked more like an anorexic snowball than anything else. And what the hell is that on its face? Obviously it’s a sticker. Because French people.
3. Tri-colored pasta AKA the most fowl thing they’ve concocted this side of the Atlantic.
But you know what? I bought it all, and happily. And that cardboard handle? Delightfully convenient (I’ll deny it if asked). I even kept the sticker on because it just seemed wrong to alter what was surely the greatest testament to Franco-American relations that ever was.
Here’s hoping this year fares better.
p.s. The top photo is from Château de Chaumont in the Loire Valley. I had to travel well outside Paris to find those bad boys.