...Continued from page 1

There was no tradition. You were supposed to dress up in a costume and wear a steamy mask you couldn't see out of; go around the neighborhood in the dark or fog and knock on every door and collect candy. Doing 'tricks' was out. Doing 'tricks' would have taken all night.

My mother liked parties, so when we came back with the sack of loot to a basement that was decorated in black and orange crepe paper, there were tubs of floating apples and blindfolded pin-the-tail-on-the-donkey, and we all shrieked a lot. Halloween was free-shriek night.

One year, at school, we were told about poor Guy Fawkes bungling the demolition the English parliament. Although he was caught, this somehow was the connection to fireworks. Two weeks before Halloween, fireworks went on sale and we got all we could afford andphoto: trick or treat kids tried to blow things up, just for fun. Later, the municipality took over the fireworks display, and this cut the casualties considerably.

A conference is held to decide whether to ask for 'trick' or 'treat.'

Not too much later, rock-and-roll was invented, and we went to dances instead of going around throwing firecrackers and collecting candy. All this is the sum-total of the Halloween tradition. Anything else added, is just frills, probably added by the marketing hucksters of 'Mother's Day.'

This year in this village in France, Halloween was last Tuesday, 20. October, on a sunny late afternoon. Halloween is really on the eve of Toussaint; so the whole of this coming week is a holiday - the kids may be elsewhere next Saturday.

Some of the kids had their costumes on, coming out of school. I took Max home to get his; one he made up. When we got back to the rendez-vous, nobody was there, so we joined a small passing pack and hit the doors flagged with a pumpkin.

Max actually had three masks on, so he couldn't see anything for more than about 23 seconds. I got him to take one off. He had a big sack too; about the size we used to have.

The 'treaters' only hand out small boxes of 'Smarties.' Nobody makes different-colored popcorn or candy apples. Nobody makes anything. Max doesn't even know what a candy-apple is; he thinks the 'Smarties' are a good haul.

A French lady asks if she is following the right route. Since nobody was at the rendez-vous, the Halloween 'collectors' are going are our way, coming our way and going other ways. Not all houses are marked with pumpkins; nobody has drawn any arrows on the pavements.

There are a gaggle of witches who have all gotten their 'witch' outfits from the same supplier - in fact, for girls, this is the standard costume. One of Max's masks is a rabbit, but he says he is not Zorro or Batman. Because they can't fly. So I guess he is a flying rabbit - wearing a disguise.

When he is worn out, well before dark and afterphoto: pumpkin, to right only an hour - there are hills here - his big sack is not nearly full. It is nearly empty, but he sees it as 'fuller' than I do. When he runs out of energy he is like a dying battery - suddenly there's no more power. Unlike a battery, he complains about the power lack - all of the way back to the car.

It may not be 'traditional' and it may not be how it is done in the rest of France next Saturday, but it the way it is done in this village; exactly like a couple of years ago when I did it with Max' brother. I didn't hear one firecracker.

The Irish didn't have firecrackers when they 'invented' Halloween at the time of Saint Brenden. The world had to wait for the Chinese to do it. Does anybody know how to say Halloween in Chinese?

Halloween In French and for UNICEF

The only traditional ritual I really care for is the siesta and undoubtedly this is a major reason I know so little about Halloween. The French are curious about a lot of thingsphoto: winebar, l'ecluse and this extends to this Halloween site, where the origins and rituals are explained, in French.

A wine bar, in addition to the cafés Carnot '1' and Carnot '2.'

UNICEF is about kids and so is Halloween in its most fundamental form, so UNICEF has a Halloween Fun section on its Web site, partly for fun and mischief, but also to get you to pay a little more attention to what you can do for the world's kids through UNICEF.

News from The Tocqueville Connection:

Although I looked at Friday's 'The Tocqueville Connection'photo: pumpkin, to left I did not notice anything exciting. I missed 'Angling for Entry at ENA' however, so we can all go back at look again at what has been written about France's number two 'Big Deal' institute of bossmanship in France. You can also read about last week's successful Ariane-5 rocket launch, but these are so routine... even though the rockets are made in my neighborhood, they're shot off in South America.

24 Hours Before Halloween - Cyber-Intello Night!

Makes a note of this date, Friday, 30. October at 20:00 - Central European Time. Spiegel Online and the Bertelsmann 'Science- Masters' series, will present a live discussion about the interaction between man and technology, even if there is no such interaction. In case you can make it in person, this happens live in the Muffathalle in Munich.

Entitled 'Der Digital Planet,' it will feature Richard Dawkins, Daniel C. Dennett, Jared Diamond and Steven Pinker and the moderator will be Douglas Adams. In addition to using the site to reserve a entry ticket, the participants are listed, with links to their own sites.

Need a Bit of French Today?

You can get this in handy and witty bite-sized morsels by visiting 'La Fable du Jour,' which of course, has a Fable of the Day by La Fontaine - in French, also of course.

This Was Metropole One Year Ago:

Issue 2.43 - 27. October 1997 - This issuecount down Eiffel Tower featured the columns - Café Metropole - 'Forest 'Panther' Turns Into Dog; 500 Hunters Mystified' and 'Au Bistro' had - 'Nothing in France is Like Chicago.' The issue had articles entitled 'From Shakespeare & Co. to the Luxembourg,' 'E-mail For Everyone in France, With a Minitel?' 'Sundown On the Zip Train to Poitiers' by Linda Thalman and 'Looking for the Big Pumpkin In Any Old Place.' There were two 'Posters of the Week.' Ric's Cartoon of the Week asked, 'E-mail bike with motor?'

The Tour Eiffel Countdown to 31. December 1999:

Only 432 short days left to go.

Regards, Ric
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