Tuesday, November 02, 2010

One wants candy

Halloween, French style, was a trip.

I had expected nothing. I didn't say a word about it in the week leading up to it for fear of getting my kids all excited about what may potentially turn out to be a big fat disappointment.

But, as it turned out, I was underestimating the French.

So there wasn't a Disney Princess in sight, only sorcieres (witches), mummies and skeletons. (Esther was Holly Golightly in pajamas.)

Nor did I spot a single mini Snicker's or Reese's. One Madame passed out Madeleine cakes, and another invited the children back to see her rabbit hutch, teeming with adorable bunnies, which would eventually become lapin en gibelotte (rabbit stew).

There wasn't as much actual door knocking as there was insistent singing, or, eventually, chanting-- kind of like what you hear when striking workers are marching through the streets of Paris.

What do they chant?

"On veut des bonbons! On veut des bon bons!" Literal translation, "One wants some candy." Actual meaning. "I want candy."

When that didn't work, and the doors, or sometimes shuttered windows, didn't fly open soon enough, the kids cleverly resorted to politesse:

"S'il vous plait, s'il vous plait!" "If you please, if you please."

After the begging part was over, we went back to our neighbors'-- the every-ready- for- a- party Brits-- and had a bit of wine and garlic bread, while the kids dined on, um,  bonbons in front of a warming outdoor fire.

I ran next door to use my own bathroom and while I was there some latecomer Trick- or -Treaters knocked on our door.  I ran to our sweetie basket and grabbed some of the Twizzlers my sister recently sent me-- lucky Trick -or- Treaters, I don't even like to share these with my kids-- went to the door and handed some out.

As they retreated down our driveway, I shouted, "Happy Halloween!"

Out of the darkness, I heard the sound of five different voices each phonetically calling back,

"'Hah-'appy 'alloween, 'appy 'alloween, 'appy 'alloween!, 'appy 'alloween!, 'appy 'alloween!" (The letter H is purely ornamental for the French.)

The sound of those total -stranger French Tweens, dressed up as ghosts and grim reapers, trying on my language, and favorite American food, with such obvious pleasure, filled me with warm fuzzies of such profound measure this entire stay, here in the middle of nowhere France, suddenly made complete sense to me.

"Now that," I thought to myself, "is why I'm here."

There's always more stuff to read over at Momformation.


Brooke G. said...

Oh Betsy! Sounds like you had a great halloween, French style :D

Liz said...

Sounds perfect!

Seamingly Sarah said...


Megan said...

A night to remember! Now THAT'S how it should be done. Awesome Halloween.

(Far better than this hoopla I hear about people trick-or-treating at the mall- gross.)

DottyFinch said...

While I would definitely miss pilfering my kids baskets of peanut m&m's and other chocolatey toxins, what I wouldn't give to have fresh Madeleine cakes!