Pumpkins and Snow

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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. and when you say snow, you mean snow. That’s proper snow! I don’t think I’ve seen that much snow since I was a kid in France. Here, the whole country stops as soon as we get three flakes! Not that we are much better equipped for a more regular occurrence in the country: the rain. Roads are badly built and regularly flooded.

  2. I don’t really get halloween either. An excuse for a ghoul part here. Well anything that means you can put on silly clothes is absolutely a goer here.

  3. I don’t want to think about snow. We really haven’t celebrated Halloween in a long while. Now that a kid is along the way, I think that is why people celebrate it. Although I’m not a fan of all of that candy and hope we really don’t do much with Halloween to come.

    Now I’m curious to know if you think this winter will be insane with snow? I’ve heard a rumor that it may be one long winter.

  4. Snow already? This afternoon was in the mid 70s and after leaving the car in the sun we had to use the air conditioning. But I hear it will rain tomorrow and we will get down to the 60s. I like snow though. One year we drove all the way to the North Carolina Mountains because we had heard it snowed there and we wished to see it. It was beautiful. As for Halloween and all the other holidays – I think it is the culture in North America, which is based on money. Stores push these holidays to get people to buy stuff – marketing here is very powerful.

  5. I can’t believe you guys have already gotten snow! Wow! I guess we’ll be getting it soon enough too. It’s cold enough now in the mornings to snow.

    Halloween is definitely a holiday that’s more fun as a kid. You dress up, have all kinds of fun things to do in school, trick or treat, eat candy until you puke… what fun! As an adult it’s just an excuse to drink in costume.

  6. The first snow, so exciting 🙂

    Somehow, Halloween is probably one of the holidays I miss the most in France. It’s one of the only holiday you get to celebrate with people you don’t know and share candies 🙂

  7. I don’t get Halloween either and always dislike it. I tried to explain why I don’t like this holiday, as it is a marketing tactic for businessmen to make parents and children buy unnecessary decorations and candies.

    Many window displays have Halloween decorations in Denmark and many stores sell customs for kids. Plus they have Halloween theme at the oldest amusement park in the world. I think it’s quite silly but it’s fun for kids and some adults.

    Stay warm!

  8. I agree with your observation: if you haven’t celebrated it in your childhood, then it’s kinda lethargic celebrating it later in life. I didn’t celebrate any holidays when I was young, and now, I could care less about holidays. I see holidays as an excuse from work, period.

    And wow, you guys already had snow. We are still sunny here, no snow yet, and for that, I am happy. Although that isn’t the case for long I take it.

  9. i love your pumpkin pictures. orange is a great color, under-appreciated the rest of the year.
    i bought an enormous quantity of candy this year and we only got 10 trick-or-treaters. it has never been so slow. i dressed up like a vampire for nothing.
    halloween in france sounds like fun. i like parties. do people dress up too?

  10. Oh boy, it was snowing in late October!?? Canada is really a cold country…

    In Europe, Halloween was celebrated mainly in Ireland. It had never caught on in Continental Europe.

  11. 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.

  12. @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.

  13. 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. 😉

  14. 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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