As a child growing up in North America, I loved Hallowe'en. Not just as a candy-grab (which was, of course, part of the fun); but more for the thrill of going out into the normally forbidden and forbidding night, the magic of changing your identity for a few hours, and the excitement of approaching unfamiliar doors and the possibility of being frightened by what lurked on the other side.
Now I have two children and want them to experience that magic, but we have been living for the past three Hallowe'ens in Germany, where they don't traditionally celebrate it. Over the past few years it has been creeping in, and you will find Hallowe'en parties and even some trick-or-treating (or in this case "Suesses-oder-Saures", "sweets-or-sours"), but there is reluctance to embrace what many see as yet another case of the "Americanization" of German culture.
Last year, out of respect for the opposition to Hallowe'en, we didn't let our boys go out trick-or-treating in our building complex. This year, however, given that many of their friends were going out, and that there seemed to be more people in favour of it, we decided that we would celebrate in the traditional way. We carved a Jack-o'-Lantern, I used my almost non-existent sewing skills to make a couple of Vampire cloaks, we roasted pumpkin seeds, got a bowl of candy and candles ready, and out went the boys.
They roamed the complex in a small pack, while my husband and I stayed home and watched Tim Burton's very excellent "Corpse Bride", pausing every few minutes to shell-out, shell-out, for the witches were indeed out.
There is not nearly enough magic in our lives these days. It's good to have the magic of Hallowe'en back, even at the risk of putting a few noses out of joint.