First off, thank you to my good friend Al for sending me this link.
Second, can I just say….Who but the French would FOUND an organization against Halloween? And I am French, so I can acknowledge our faults.
Let me try to be balanced, in this ridiculous situation. One of the things I really appreciated when I was living in France was the thought and discussion that was put into decisions and opinions. French people won’t just accept something. They’ll critique it, turn it on its head, they’ll question its value, they’ll have a referendum. They’ll debate about it. Remember the CPE scandal? Poor proposition–that could have done great things for the employment market in France–was burried before even seeing the light because 200 to 400, 000 people went down into the streets to protest.
It is an endearing quality in a way. My aunt and two cousins live and work in Saint Tropez, and since this is a former fishing village, the inhabitants and elected officials wanted to keep the village feel. They passed legislation that forbids neon store signs in the entire village, prohibits defacing building facades or modifying them too much from their original fisherman’s abodes “look”, bans fast food restaurants (they banned Mc Donald’s to the limit of the “commune” , nearly 17 kilometers away–they were SO mad but opened a store RIGHT on the commune border). In some parts of the “commune”, you only have a choice of painting your window shutters one of a handful of colors (all pastels: green, blue, mauve). Saint Tropez is Saint Tropez, you either, as they say, love it or hate it, but it does have an undeniable charm.
Anyway. Back to Halloween. So they have a point. It may be an American consumerist holiday, it may sometimes be devoid of significance, it maybe be completely foreign to France and not culturally appropriate…But really. How BORING do you have to be to create an anti-halloween organization and vote people into offices like Press Officer, Secretary etc? I mean, can you imagine the day they voted officers?
I just have one point to make in this whole rant/post/whatever. I had a HARD time having fun in Paris. I swear! Sometimes, and I am not EVEN kidding, I would try to find myself riding the metros on Friday and Saturday nights between midnight and 1 AM, when the metro shuts down, on lines 4 and 6 (line 4 because it went through the Latin Quarter and line 6 because it came from a student party area with lots of bars) just to see the drunk partying French youth. It was hilarious. People would sometime rock the trains, sing drunken songs that we all were invited to join in, they would clamor (very funny) jokes and speeches, make statements, they would, hell, just TALK to you! I can’t even count how many times I belly laughed on one of those late night metro rides.
But I had to go to that extent just to see people acting crazy and looking like they were having fun!
So yeah. That’s my beef with the “Non à Halloween”.
I’ve been having so much fun since I’ve been back in the US. I’ve laughed more, smiled more, had more to talk about…And tonight is Halloween and I’m thinking of The Ferrets, my college group of friends and how much fun we always had at Halloween. One year we organized a “Come dressed as your Phobia” party in the woods of Pennsylvania–Beth and I were living in a converted carriage house near Landenberg–and it was the funnest evening ever. We had people come as bounced checks, heights, drowning, teeth broken on the pavement, white trash…and we decorated the entire house with Phobia definitions pasted next to the appropriate objects, that we printed from the Phobia List page, you know…”ABLUTOPHOBIA-FEAR OF WASHING OR BATHING” next to the washbasin in the bathroom or “ARACHIBUTYROPHOBIA-FEAR OF PEANUT BUTTER STICKING TO THE ROOF OF YOUR MOUTH” next to the bowl of Reese’s peanut butter cups…
That was a truly wicked party. And in the name of that party, and how much fun was had, I resent, even a justified, well-thought out plan to kill Halloween. It’s totally personal and unjustified, really.