The festival of Halloween is observed on the 31st of October every year, to honor the dead and deceased. It is believed that every year, at this time, the spirits rise from their grave and mingle with the living. Although the festival is not a traditional holiday in France, it is celebrated every year by the locals. In fact, with every passing year, the festival is increasingly gaining popularity among the French masses and is widely influencing their cultural and social lives. A major contributor towards this effect is corporate marketing. Due to the advertising and branding of products, people are increasingly being attracted to the many customs and traditions of this unique festival. Also, due to globalization, the festival is gradually been incorporated the social network of the people residing in France.
The first celebration of Halloween in France was marked in the year 1982, when people from the American Dream Bar/ Restaurant started observed it. Gradually, their attempts to familiarize the festival among the natives bore fruit and by 1995, their customers became more and more familiar with the festival. Moreover, the famous Mask Museum in Saint-Hilaire-Saint-Florent was established by Cesar group in 1992 and the owners of the museum started to work towards the expansion of the festival throughout France, from the following year. In 1995, the president of the company Optus Opus, Philippe Cahen, claimed that he alone was responsible for the introduction and popularization of the festival in France.
In the year 1996, residents of the St. Germain-en-Laye village in France held a Halloween party on the 24th of October, in the middle of the day. This was an attempt to give the locals an idea about why Halloween is celebrated and what the festival is all about. In the present times, brands like Coca Cola, Pepsi and McDonalds are increasingly popularizing the festival, to promote their products, by making use of Halloween images like pumpkins, broom-sticks etc. Thus, the new generation in France celebrates Halloween as any average American teenage or kid. The popular tradition of ‘trick or treating’ is also done here and young kids and children wander from house to house, seeking goodies and confectioneries from people. This custom, however, initially started on a store-to-store basis, rather than from house-to-house.
Like with any other festival, Halloween is also celebrated in France by arranging parties and get-togethers, where people spend some quality time together, consuming sumptuous homemade cookies, pastries and many other mouth-watering delicacies. A particular attraction in such parties is that people usually come wearing different types of weird costumes and outfits, to fit into the mood of the occasion. This includes ghoulish attires like that of ghosts, goblins, ogres, witches, mummies, vampires etc. Apart from this, stores are decorated; lanes are lined with colorful and decorative lights, religious services are held and people even visit cemeteries to pay homage to their deceased friends and relatives. The increasing familiarity of the people with the festival has also been a boon for the pumpkin cultivators. With the increasing demand for jack-o’-lanterns during Halloween, pumpkin cultivation has been growing much.