How Do Germans Celebrate Halloween?

Germans have only been celebrating Halloween since 1991, according to Spiegel, but they decorate with pumpkins, attend costume parties, visit allegedly haunted locations and, to a lesser extent, trick-or-treat. German Halloween celebrations are heavily influenced by media portrayals of the American holiday. notes that Halloween costumes are so popular that more and more specialty stores are popping up in Germany. Germans frequently choose scary costumes to wear to Halloween parties. In metropolitan areas, children wear costumes to go trick-or-treating too.

In a departure from the American version of trick-or-treating, German children usually say "sweet or sour" instead of "trick-or-treat." However, Spiegel notes that in recent years, children have begun playing such "tricks" as throwing eggs at houses.

Halloween scares are another popular aspect of the German Halloween. According to, one of Germany's largest and most popular Halloween venues is the Darmstadt castle ruins, also known as the Burg of Frankenstein.

Although the Retz, Austria, pumpkin festival isn't a German event, enthusiasm generated by the festival spills into Germany, where some residents carve pumpkins and display them on their doorsteps, according to

Spiegel reports that a YouGov poll found that 20 percent of Germans celebrate Halloween. Decried by some as an American encroachment on German culture, others take full advantage of the holiday's commercial aspects.