Halloween in Europe
#1
This Halloween season really got me thinking.

I live in a small European country, Hungary where (same as almost all of Europe) celebration around the time of Allhallowtide seems weird and out of place. Festivities in October and November were usually tied to the grape harvest as Hungary is very much a wine country but as industrialization kicked in these festivals disappeared. The more festive side of All Hallows was actively suppressed during socialism to the point where the average person often confuses All Hallows and All Souls and brand them together as the day of the dead.

We are pretty much in the germano-austrian zone of cultural influence so we used to have a similar Carnival season (we also have Krampus with St. Nicholas on the 6th of December) but that was suppressed too in the socialist era favoring the new socialistic holidays (Day of the Liberation, Day of the Great Socialist Revolution ...). These socialist holidays are gone now and the Carnival became a celebration for kids and only little kids. Lent is not observed by the majority and "to banish the winter" is not a reason to celebrate either as the traditional agrarian society is gone, so only little children dress up and have a costume contest but that's it. Even they do not really know why they do it and as an early teen usually stop.

But people, especially teens are hungry for party and Halloween arrived in this cultural vacuum. Not only the knowledge about Halloween, the merchandise as well. But because there is no traditional form of this holiday, the most macabre elements appear. The zombie masks, the vampire fangs, it is some kind of scary, adult Mardi Gras. There is no friendly neighbourhood trick or treating with kids as people are more isolated to let anyone on their porch, usually it is just  an excuse for teens to get drunk with witchcraft and occult as a setting.

 I am interested in this topic as a would be parent, how do you set the boundaries for a feast where the actual method of celebrating is in a flux (and it can easily draw you into glorifying evil)? I am not naive I know the Americanized version is here to stay but I am curious if some of you live in a society that recently embraced Halloween how did they handle it? They copied the USA? Merged with their tradition? Something else?
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