Halloween in Italy – An American Perspective

Halloween in Italy is a strange combination of “similar to the United States” and “very different”. For example…

Tristan’s school is very popular on Halloween.

His teachers (the nuns) live in the sanctuary attached to the school (a sanctuary is a monastery for nuns). Well, they’ve kept the head of Saint Katherine safe since 1380.

Yep.

A 635 year-old-head.

Twice as old as the Declaration of Independence.

On display. Just a few days a year, including Halloween.

We opted not to take the younger kids to see it, and Max was home sick (poor guy), so most of the differences that we experienced were a lot tamer than that, such as:

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Kids like dressing up… it’s not just an American thing. But most Italians EITHER just had a mask, or a decorated shirt or something. I only saw a couple of kids all night that had headgear AND specific clothing to match… but just like America teenage girls (not pictured) can pretty much just wear a short skirt and call it a “costume”…
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Apparently haggling is universal, but look at this haul… that’s 2 hours of trick-or-treating! Nothing like the giant hauls my kids are used to in America!
Most stores love giving out candy… but not all of them were ready for it. A few shops (including this one) didn’t have candy but LOVED having the kids in their store, so they made us wait while they went out to the local tabaco shop and BOUGHT candy specifically for our group… and yes the tabaco shop is where you buy candy, and bus tickets, and well… anything else. We had to buy a number of “official government tax stamps” to get permission to stay in Italy, and like bus tickets those can ONLY be bought at tabaco shops.

Then there was this restaurant. The bartender was dressed as Dracula, and they didn’t have any candy, so all the kids got a pastry which probably retailed for about $6.50! while the staff watched them eat…

Italian Pastry at a sit-down restaurant just for saying
Italian Pastry at a sit-down restaurant just for saying “Trick-or-Treat” to a vampire… :)
Pumpkins are a thing, and tend to be more artistic than the US. It seems like carving pumpkins is something mostly done by grown-ups but...
Pumpkins are a thing, and tend to be more artistic than the US. It seems like carving pumpkins is something mostly done by grown-ups but…
... but while Italian kids might never have actually carved a pumpkin before, they pick it up pretty fast!
… but while Italian kids might never have actually carved a pumpkin before, they pick it up pretty fast!
Moving to Italy doesn't make kids immune to the effects of sugar and late nights.
Moving to Italy doesn’t make kids immune to the effects of sugar and late nights.

One of the districts in Siena apparently turns their twisted streets into a giant haunted house, but we were told it was even scary for adults, so we pass on that as well as the severed head… Maybe we’ll come back some year in the future to check it out… :)

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