My son’s friend went trick-or-treating with his sister last weekend (because in Sweden, Halloween is 2 weeks for some reason).
The Swedes are still learning how Halloween works, which leads to some strange things ending up in the treat bag. On this occasion, the boy and his sister knocked on a door belonging to an old woman. She dug in her purse and dropped an old piece of money that is no longer valid and an aspirin.
Maybe the aspirin came in handy later for the parent who had to deal with sugar-hyped kids.
Well, it’s Easter Thursday again here in Sweden, so I feel it is my duty to inform you once again this year that Sweden will be filled with little witches demanding candy and then flying off to their blue hill.
Yeah, I don’t get it either, but it equals candy, so yea!
On Thursdays, the children dress up as witches (though they look more like hags with scarves) and go trick-or-treating for candy in the evening. Normally they trade Easter cards they have made for candy, unless they are just greedy and lazy.
Then the legend has it that the witches fly off to Blåkulla, but my kids are usually too full of candy to do any flying. It’s more like stumbling to a blue bean bag to stuff their faces full of candy and pass out on a sugar high.
If you’re interested in the real story of how and why the Swedes celebrate this way, check here: http://somethingswedish.wordpress.com/2012/04/05/witches-in-sweden/
We actually got invited to another Swedish/American couple’s house yesterday for a Halloween dinner plus trick or treating with their kids. It was wonderful! Finally my kids got a fun and real Halloween over here! The family lives in a large area of attached townhouses which are very family-friendly with no streets – the perfect place for trick or treating. I should also say that there were many wonderful people with jack-o-lanterns. Many would answer the door in costume – it was great.
That being said, let me give you the highlights of the Swedes who did not understand trick or treating last night.
1. When our group of kids (6 – 7 years old) came to one lady’s door, she argued with them and told them it was the wrong night and they should come back tomorrow. Then she closed the door. I wonder what she said to the other 20 groups of kids I saw running around and if she ever stopped to think she MIGHT be wrong.
2. One irritated man said, “Guess what kids? Fruit is the new candy!” and gave them all oranges.
3. Some guy gave all the kids potato chips because he didn’t have candy. Just dumped clumps of chips in the bag. Now the candy is all greasy and I have to wash the bag from all the crushed chips.
4. One couple got interupted from a romantic dinner (Swedes don’t often have curtains and we could see the couple having a candlelit dinner with wine – they picked the wrong night). The woman went back in, rummaged through the cabinets until she found a huge bag of nuts. She looked at the man. They both shrugged and then she came to the door and just handed the kids the giant bag of nuts.
5. One lady apologized to the kids saying they had just come back from vacation in America and all they had was dollars. The other American guy and I hollered, “That works for us!” and this sweet, polite lady said, “oh, should I go get them?” We had to say, “um. No. We were just kidding.”
Out of the maybe 50 houses we visited, about half had candy (I was so surprised!), 20 percent gave the kids weird things from their cabinet because they weren’t prepared, 10 percent answered the door and told the kids they had nothing and the rest just shut off the porch light as soon as the kids approached the door (also funny because again, there are no curtains and we can see straight into the houses that the people are ignoring us.)
But the kids were thrilled and they are still talking about it today. Their bags were full, they had a super time and there were a lot of really cool people who made it fun for them while answering doors. There is hope for a real Halloween in Sweden after all!
(But I’ll still hold on to my bag of candy for the next 2 days because they honestly just can’t get the day right).