Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Halloween In Germany: Adults Attack Children

Halloween has slowly been making it's way into Germany in the past ten years. The first few years I lived here they started selling ceramic jack o' lanterns and other knick knack junk. Then people started having parties, you could buy actual, none-edible pumpkins ("halloween" pumpkins are too stringy to eat and not the kind you can make pumpkins soup out of which a lot of Germans make at home), etc. etc. This year was one of the first where a fair amount of kids went trick or treating. Below is a newspaper article from the Berliner Tagesspiegel (Daily Mirror) that I have translated for you to give you an idea of how it went. (The information in parenthesis are my own comments.)
Halloween: Adults Attack Children
The Halloweenization (Germans have this super annoying habit of changing nouns into verbs...It drives me nuts, especially when I'm doing an editing job and they are doing it all over the place in English too) of Germany has been met with resistance. In several cities (though thankfully this time not in Berlin!!) adults beat up kids. An older woman from Steinenbronn in Baden-Wuerttemberg felt threatened by the children who demanded "Suesses, sonst gibt's Saures" (trick or treat), as is done in the American tradition. She grabbed her walking stick and struck back. One child suffered a minor head wound. Similar incidences occured in Boeblingen and Esslingen where a 79 year old even used pepper spray against three boys dressed in costume. In Regensburg in Bavaria a 51 year old beat two ten years olds with his walking stick (a little young for that I would think, the walking stick I mean) after the boys rang his doorbell. Both boys received bruises and a bump on the head. In upper frankonia Rehau a house owner slapped three boys who rang his doorbell and then proceeded to chase them.
The police however also reported many incidences of vandalism and criminal activity on Halloween night. In Bergheim in Nordrhein-Westfalen three men dressed as vampires and ninjas robbed a taxi driver. In upper Bavarian Neufahrn several teenagers set up a street blockade with two cars and attached trailers. In upper fallischen Schwandorf several teeangers threw firecrackers into trash cans and mailboxes (gasp!). In Oy-Mittelberg (lord, what a name) in upper Allgaeu three boys blew up a jack o' lantern with cherry bombs (quick, call the national guard.) In Pilsting in Nieder Bavaria two teenagers threatened a group of children with a knife and air gun. They wanted the candy they had collected.

(Oh those wacky Germans! As usual, taking everything far too seriously on every front....)

p.s. Speaking of Germans, Jasper pointed out that it's strange that we say "trick or treat" when logically it should actually be "treat or trick." Honestly, I had never thought about it before. I guess it just doesn't have the right kind of ring to it.


Kathleen said...

To your last point (and to how the Germans say it), I never thought of "trick or treat" as a conditional statement or threat. I've always seen it as an either/or proposition, sort of like truth or dare. Does that make sense?

Karen/Small Earth Vintage said...

I love this post! I had been wondering what other countries had Halloween celebrations. I have to say, Germany is sure coming out of the gate fast, with the kids already blowing up the pumpkins! Thanks for the translation of the article. Very amusing!

Andy and I have no children and live on a cul de sac in a semi-rural area where we never have trick-or-treaters. Yet, we still carve the pumpkins and buy candy. I wish I'd had a party to dress up for, too!

Schaufensterbabe said...

Kathleen, yes that does make sense. I've also never known anyone who really did the trick part, save for a few boys blowing up pumpkins, but I guess they have those all around the world. :)

Karen, pumpkin carving is the best! If I didn't have kids I'm sure I would still do it (always have preferred the long thin pumpkins to the short fat ones.) It's sweet to imagine you guys with a big bowl of candy, waiting for the off chance trick or treater!

petoskystone said...

is it fear that causes the elderly t o strike at children, or a sort of how-dare-they-approach-*me* ?! at least detroits' version of devils' night hasn't become apparent. do you suppose punkin chunkin ( will take off next?

Schaufensterbabe said...

A little of both I think. Germans, on a whole, just aren't all that comfortable with new things, especially those of the older generation. This also has some benefits in that you can still find amazing vintage furniture/housewares etc. for next to nothing because people were taught to hang on and preserve the old so there's still a lot of it around. Still, they will get used to Halloween eventually, though I don't think they'll ever get into Punkin Chunkin. ;)


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