How to celebrate Halloween in Paris

When we left for Paris almost a year ago, London was in full on Halloween mode. Supermarkets shelves groaning with sweets, the fruit and vegetable aisles bursting with pumpkins. Then, we arrived in Paris. And there was nothing. No Halloween in Paris. The kids were dismayed. No trick or treating. No buckets of sweets. No dressing up. No face painting. France sucks. We hate Paris! Let’s go home!

And this year there is still no Halloween. No one seems to be dressed up, the supermarkets are not filled with trick or treating candy, and the pumpkins are simply for cooking….

Why don’t the French celebrate Halloween?

Halloween isn’t really a big celebration in France. It’s seen as more of an American tradition, and the French, they tend to eschew anything too commercial. Here in Paris, you wouldn’t even believe that Christmas was around the corner. Our local supermarket has a small shelf filled with chocolate advent calendars and that’s it.

What do the French celebrate?

In France we are now on our Toussaints holiday; schools have now broken up for two weeks. November 1 is Toussaints (All Saints Day), a catholic holy day and Bank Holiday. I believe the tradition is to visit cemeteries to honour deceased relatives, and place chrysanthemums on their graves.

Seriously there’s no Halloween in France at all?

Well, things are starting to change, and here and there, a little bit of Halloween can be found. In Paris, there is a big community of expat Americans and yes the Americans do do Halloween!

So, did the kids get Halloween in Paris?

This year they did. I made sure of that!

We couldn’t let this year pass without a celebration of vampires, witches, zombies and all things ghoulish. I teamed up with a couple of American mums, for an early Halloween celebration. I took a pint-sized skeleton and Dracula on the Paris metro to the American Church in Paris, where Halloween was in full swing.

  • We discovered candy corn
  • The kids entered and never left the haunted house
  • We decorated pumpkins
  • Got our fortunes told – we would eat lots of sweets, have a great time, and Wonder Boy would be very rich (he’s very happy)
  • And then we went to see Gremlins, the original 1894 movie, as part of the children’s film festival right here in Paris. The kids loved it. This added to our ghoulish festivities.

Get spooky and celebrate Halloween in Paris

If you find yourself in Paris and you are looking for some Halloween fun, all is not lost, there are places where you can seek out something spooky:

Halloween at Disneyland Paris

You can join Mickey Mouse and co for their Halloween festival and Halloween Party at Disneyland Paris until 2 November.

Address: Marne-la-Vallée
Travel: How to get to the park

Get spooky with Asterix in Parc Asterix

Asterix and the gang are putting on a spooktacular over at Parc Asterix.

Address: Parc Asterix, 60128 Plailly (30 mins outside of Paris)
Travel: How to get to the park

Musee Grevin

Musee Grevin is the Paris version of Madame Tussaud’s, and this wax works museum is putting on a spooky extravaganza for Halloween. Tickets can be bought online.

Address: 10 Boulevard Montmartre, 75009 Paris
Travel: Metro line 8 or line 9 Grands Boulevards

Trick or treating at Boneshaker Doughnuts

Boneshaker Doughnuts has brought American style doughnuts to Paris and they are going all out to bring American style trick or treating to Paris. They will handing out candy all day on 29 October 2016 (until the sweets run out).

Address: 77 Rue d’Aboukir, 75002 Paris
Travel: Metro line 3 Sentier

Pere Lachaise cemetery

Take a wander around the graves and mausoleums in this beautifully eery cemetery. You can pay homage to Oscar Wilde, Jim Morrison, Edith Piaf, Honor de Balzac amongst others.

Address: 16 rue du Repos,  75020 Paris
Travel: Metro line 2 Pere Lachaise or Philippe Auguste

Musee des Vampires

It’s the world’s only museum dedicated to vampires, run by vampirologist, Jacques Sirgent who also doubles as an English teacher and Bram Stoker translator. You can see a 19th century anti-vampire protection kit and the autographs of every actor who has played Dracula.

Address: 14 rue Jules David, Les Lilas
Travel: Metro line 11 Marie des Lilas

The catacombs

The remains of six million people are stored in the catacombs, a small network of tunnels which are part of Paris’ ancient mines. Remains of the dead were exhumed and transported to the catacombes in the late 18th century from the Holy Innocents Cemetery which had been the oldest and largest cemetery in Paris.

Address: 1 avenue du Colonel Henri Rol-Tanguy, 75014 Paris
Travel: Metro line 6 and RER B Denfert-Rochereau

 Photo credit, KKMarais courtesy of Flickr

MummyTravels
Cuddle Fairy

Tooting Mama

30 Comments

  1. Wow – no Halloween in Paris! I would never have guessed! This is a really useful guide for anyone planning to have a Halloween break in Paris. #citytripping

    • I know! Me managed to scrape some Halloween fun together. Thanks for your comment.

    • I think this might just be a Paris thing, we’re in Tours and they have really gone all out for Halloween. Lots of restaurants decorated in spooky paraphernalia, crowds of ghosts and ghouls trick or treating, it was great to feel some Halloween spirit!

  2. It’s true, Halloween is tough in France! One year in the Picardie, we lived on the ground floor, and I passed out candy through our front windows when kids would walk by. Maybe a little creepy, but who doesn’t want free candy?!?! This year I will see what it’s like in Germany for the first time, and I’ve been told we will go trick-or-treating. We will see!! Glad you guys have found your Halloween niche because fall is just no good without it!!! #citytripping
    Christy Swagerty (whatupswags) recently posted…German Swag 101: Visiting VilsbiburgMy Profile

    • It’s been pretty tame is Paris, but we’re spending a few days in Tours and they are really going for it in the town – which is brilliant, really spirit of Halloween. I guess Parisians are just way too cool!

  3. Well done on creating your own Halloween vibe! I was never really into it but now my daughter is a bit older she obviously adores the dressing up so am embracing it…and any excuse for a party! #citytripping
    Elizabeth (Wander Mum) recently posted…City Tripping #50My Profile

    • I know where you’re are coming from. My kids were so into the dressing up, the sweets etc – they just love it. Thankfully we made it happen this year.

  4. I am not really surprised that halloween is not that big in Paris, it was never a big deal where I grew up either. Disney Paris on the other hand would be awesome to visit around halloween time
    Anosa recently posted…Five Things #1My Profile

  5. I have such mixed feelings about Halloween- my daughter is more excited about seeing pumpkins at the moment. I love the fact there’s a museum of vampires too… thanks for linking up with #citytripping
    Cathy (Mummytravels) recently posted…City Tripping #50My Profile

  6. I remember spending Christmas in Paris and I hated it. There was no single decoration in sight. It didn’t feel like Christmas at all. Will never make that mistake again, lol. I can imagine Halloween not being celebrated at all.

    • Think you might have been in the wrong place! Boulevard Haussman, Galeries Lafayette, Printemps, and Bon Marche is where you need to be. They do the most amazing Christmas lights! And a pretty good Christmas market along the Champs de Elysee to! It’s far more muted here though.

    • I agree that you might have been in the wrong place. I went last year at Christmas time and was amazed at all of the store decorations and displays. So beautiful! I’m afraid I will never find a city I love visiting at Christmas time as much as I loved Paris. Even NYC was a disappointment to me in comparison. 🙂
      Mandy recently posted…Walt Disney World 4 Parks in 2 Days: Hollywood StudiosMy Profile

      • We were in Paris last Christmas and the lights were just amazing, there have a funfair in the Grand Palais which is just amazing – well worth a trip after a Vin Chaud at the Christmas market on the Champs Elyssee!

    • We made it happen this year (phew!). The French are starting to embrace Halloween, just about!

    • I like the alternative suggestions too. One day I’ll pluck up the courage and get to the catacombs. The UK is more and more embracing the American tradition of Halloween.

  7. Well, I had absolutely no idea the French didn’t celebrate Halloween! They don’t celebrate it a great deal here in Sweden, either!

    • Yes the Christmas decorations are beautiful – but it’s a lot less commercial here. I felt that last year when we arrived. Maybe things will feel a little different now that we’ve been here a year. Thanks for your comment!

  8. Oh wow I had no idea that these events were not really celebrated in Paris but it makes sense why. These are excellent ideas for families who want to get involved in the fun though! x

    • Halloween is being celebrated more and more, I think the expat community is helping that happen. Also it’s a chance to sell more sweets in the lead up to Christmas!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

CommentLuv badge