Pumpkins and Snow


But for the number of pumpkins for sale everywhere, I would have forgotten it was Halloween.

I have this theory that if you didn’t celebrate whatever tradition when you were young, it’s hard to get into the mood later on in life. I have sweet memories of Christmas with all my family in France and used to take that holiday seriously. On the other side, Feng doesn’t care as much about it because he didn’t celebrate it as a kid in China. However he remembers the craziness of Chinese New Year in China, something I can’t really imagine.

Similarly, I don’t get Halloween. Even though some of the earliest Halloween traditions started in Europe, we didn’t celebrate it at all when I was a kid in France. It was primarily a North American tradition we knew about because of the U.S. horror movies. But about 15 years ago, Halloween saw a resurgence in popularity in France with the help of a huge marketing campaign led by major American companies such as McDonalds’, Eurodisney and Coke.

That said, kids don’t usually go trick-or-treating, especially in big cities. Halloween is mostly celebrated in bars and restaurants, with themed parties and a lot of booze.

The way North American celebrate anything that is worth celebrating—Christmas, Chinese New Year, Halloween, Easter, National Days etc.—both amazes me and annoys me. On one hand, I admire the way people get into the mood. They don’t do things by halves: houses are decorated, candies are bought in astronomic quantities and themed merchandises and food are sold everywhere. But I can’t help thinking we overdo everything. Halloween merchandises are on display in stores right after the back-to-school frenzy, and fir trees and happy Santa Claus replace them as soon as the pumpkins are gone. Then it will be Boxing Day, Valentines’ Day, Easter… and next thing you know, it will be Christmas again.

On Saturday night, we got a little reminder that winter was on the way: the first snow storm of the year. We were out at the movies and it took us by surprise. We drove home slowly, confused and cold. Can it ally be winter? I keep on thinking summer is coming back anytime now…

The Byward Market

Pumpkins For Sale

Anarchist Pumpkin

Happy Pumpkin

Pumpkins for Sale

Orange Pumpkins

First Snow of the Year

Empty Snowy Streets

Driving Back


About Author

French woman in English Canada. World citizen, new mom, traveler, translator, writer and photographer. Looking for comrades to start a new revolution.


  1. So true Zhu, not just on Halloween but everything is overloaded due to commercial reasons. Look at Valentine’s day for instant.

    I love the festive mood but too much kills the joy really.

  2. @Em – Yes, proper snow 🙂 I know exactly what you mean, the European definition of snow is slightly different from the Canadian’s.

    @Mo – I wouldn’t mind putting on silly clothes once in a while… but no way, I’m too shy. Besides, in Ottawa, not that many adults dress up.

    @expatraveler – I first heard that it was going to be one cold winter, then I heard it was going to be quite warm because of El Nino but with tons of snow in Ontario. Not sure for B.C….

    @Vagabonde – It always snow a first time in October, it’s a reminder to get ready for the winter. Then the snow melts and severe snowstorms start in December or late November again. This is Canada!

    @Soleil – Even as a kid I didn’t like candies much so I don’t think I would have enjoyed it that much. But who knows… I might have developed a taste for candies!

    @Cynthia – It sounds fun the way you put it. I guess I can’t really imagine.

    @Poem – How is the weather these days over there? Getting cold already?

    I think a lot of stores in France have theme-merchandise but people don’t buy much, not like in North America.

    @Linguist-in-Waiting – It’s good that you don’t have snow yet, enjoy it while you can!

    @Seraphine – Oh, I want to see you as a vampire! We never know how much candies to buy. Some year, we have like a hundred of kids and some year almost no one. It was cold this year so it wasn’t very busy.

    @khengsiong – Yes, you are right. Well, it is a Celtic tradition originally I guess.

    @shionge – Oh, don’t even get me started on Valentine’s Day! It’s just silly IMO.

  3. I have to disagree with comments about Hallowe’en being all about marketing. I think it is about neighbours being friendly and kids getting very very excited and having lots of fun. In general. I had a bad experience this year, which I described to Alexandra. You can read all about it about once the blog catches up with real time….I need to post more of our letters each day, because it’s a bit silly that the blog is still stuck in July!

    The Christmas shopping frenzy can certainly get a bit obscene at times, and I’ve always conscientiously boycotted Valentine’s day. Except that when you have kids, the schools “do” each theme every year. Valentine’s cards must be prepared for each kid in each class. I’m nasty though – I always have made them cut out their own valentines from construction paper and used the whole thing as a handwriting exercise. Mean Mommy. 😉

  4. First snow of the year is actually a misnomer.
    We already had it in January this year in Britain, didn’t you in Canada?

    First snow of the season is much better.

    We haven’t got any snow in London yet… but couple of weeks ago, it snowed in Scotland.
    Also in some parts of Germany…

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