As many know, especially if you live in the US, Halloween was last Friday. In Germany, Halloween isn't as big of a holiday as it is in the US and trick or treating is not widely conducted. Some areas do, but most do not. However, there are always some Halloween parties happening (we're in Germany and it's another excuse to drink!). On Friday, an expat group we are loosely a part of, Internations, held a Halloween party in Mannheim. We thought it would be a fun, relaxed way to meet others and there were even a couple from our Culture Training a couple weeks ago who were interested in attending.
The first hurdle, deciding what our costumes would be. Neither Aaron nor I are really ''into'' Halloween, mostly because we don't like spending a bunch of money on cheap costumes. I decided to make out own this year, but the trouble was finding something that I could make in a week and would be recognizable to Germans. We decided on Fred and Wilma Flintstone, or Feuerstein as they are known in Germany.
I spent last Sunday making the costumes and, if I do say so myself, they turned out pretty decent. Friday evening, we came home from work, donned our costumes, and headed out. And this is where the night gets interesting. There were a couple of cultural things we were unsure about. The first was timing our arrival at the party. It was close to our apartment, and Germans are usually punctual, but we weren't sure if that extended to parties or not. We opted to arrive fashionably late, and were one of the last ones to arrive. Note to self: next German party, show up on time :)
The next cultural issue: costumes. It was a Halloween party, we thought that automatically meant costume party. And it did. Sort of. We were pretty much the only ones in costumes. There was one guy with a wizards robe over his street clothes, but that was it. Not that we felt awkward or anything. We promptly grabbed a beer from the bar and sat down with a couple we knew and some others we just met. The party was in a bar in a pretty nice hotel in Mannheim, so the whole setting felt a little weird. After one beer, we headed out, and decided to go the Irish pub down the street. Thank God there were quite few more people there in costume!
The first thing we noticed about German Halloween costumes is that they are all of the ''scary, gory'' variety. Not the typical costumes more common in the US. The bartenders and waitstaff were all dressed as characters from Saw (I was informed of this since I have never seen Saw, nor do I ever plan on seeing the movie), there were also lots of zombies, witches and other, assorted monsters. We looked pretty tame in our cartoon character costumes, but at least we weren't the only ones in costume! From talking with some German friends, we came to find out that Halloween is for the ''scary'' costumes and there there is Carnival, where people dress up in the ''tamer'' costume. The more you know......
We ended up staying at the Irish pub all night. There was karaoke and somehow, Aaron and I got talked in to going up with our group and singing Karaoke to this song. In German. A song we have NEVER before heard in our life. It was, shall we say, interesting. The night also involved Jager shots, these Kahlua and Baileys things, and of course Guinness. One tip: don't try to keep up with the Germans. We did and it was not pretty the next morning. Perhaps we just need more practice.
Did anyone else celebrate Halloween this weekend?
- Meghan -