Though not a traditional festival in Germany, Halloween is celebrated with great zeal and enthusiasm. It is especially popular with the kids, who wait with much eagerness for the entire year, for the festival to arrive. Earlier, many people were unaware of the many customs and traditions associated with the festival and even of the festival in general. However, with the increasing influence of the American culture over the region, especially in the post-war period, natives and residents of Germany became more and more aware of this interesting festival.
Another factor that played a major role in popularizing Halloween in Germany is the increasing Halloween depictions in Hollywood movies and the regular soaps and serials. In fact, many people also regard it as an American custom imported to Germany. In present times, Halloween has become a ‘cool’ party theme for youngsters and teenagers, who organize costume parties on the day, thereby indulging in a lot of fun and merry-making. In certain regions, youngsters even take part in the amusing Halloween ritual of ‘trick or treating’, where they wander from house to house seeking goodies and giving an idle threat of mischief, if the treat is not given.
Another popular custom associated with Halloween in Germany involves the ‘Jack-o-Lantern’. In a small town in Austria, known as Retz, not very far from the city of Vienna, an annual pumpkin fest called Kurbisfest is also held, complete with parties and parades (Halloween Umzug). A major aspect of Germans’ spiritual pagan past is the famous spot for witches in the Harz Mountain in Germany. In the 18th century, natives believed that the region was the hovering spot for witches who were initially worshipped as forest goddesses and priestesses and later were damned as evil creatures.
For the local people of Germany, the festival of Halloween is blended with Walpurgisnacht (night of the witches), which took place in the Harz Mountains. Today, the current Halloween traditions in the country includes parties and themed decorations, costume parades, watching horror movies, visiting the graveyards of near and dear ones and so on. In certain big cities like Berlin, school children even get ‘fall vacations’. Parties and excursions are organized and people spend the entire occasion in merry making and having a gala time.