Oct 30th, 2021, 11:25 AM

A Halloween Guide for Americans In Paris

By Michaela White
Photo Credit : Anthony DELANOIX on Unsplash
If you're celebrating your favorite spooky holiday in Paris but aren't sure where to go, here are some of the best spots for treats, thrills, and chills.

In the United States, Halloween centers around the three Cs – children, candy, and costumes. Here in France, Halloween is still a budding tradition, and not all of the classic Halloween traditions have made their way over. The infamous "trick or treat" American custom, for example, has not fully emerged here. But Halloween experiences to spook the life out of you are starting to pop up around the city.

As a lover of Halloween, my curiosity was spiked when I moved to France. I had too many childhood memories not to learn more about how the French celebrated Halloween. 

In the early 2000s, I didn't buy my costume from Amazon or e-commerce shops because they didn't exist. Instead, I had a more traditional Halloween custom. All my outfits were made, designed, and fitted by my number one supporter, my grandma. Some of my earliest and favorite childhood memories involve running around the neighborhood cul-de-sac, asking the friendly neighbors for a treat while dressed as my favorite Teletubby (the red one, obviously). After a night out filling a pumpkin bag full of candy came my favorite part: eating the candy by the fireplace.

The author on Halloween in 2000. Image Credit: Michaela White 

Since Halloween memories fill my childhood, it is no surprise that I had to find the best ways to celebrate and keep my traditions alive when October approached France. Admittedly, Halloween is not yet the immersive experience one can find in the United States, but France is beginning to embrace Halloween culture a bit more each year. So here's a step-by-step guide to make sure you get your Halloween fix while living in Paris.

Sweet Treats:

Are you craving traditional American Halloween candy? Then, stop by the American store, The Real McCoy, on 194 Rue de Grenelle for some Halloween treats. I was so excited to discover this hidden gem of goodies! When I walked in, I was delighted to find candy corn, Reese's Pieces, and sour skittles, which are some of my favorite Halloween candies. 

France may be slow to kick off American Halloween traditions here in Paris, but one thing France does well? Sweet treats.  Even pumpkin spice lattes are becoming more mainstream and are available at some small French cafes.

Small French Cafe: Photo Credit Michaela White

With the American holiday becoming more accepted here in France, it's exciting to see more cafes producing Halloween-themed cookies, donuts, candies, and hot drinks.

One of my favorite cafes, Boneshaker, has the best pumpkin spice lattes in the 2nd arrondissement. Cloud Cakes, not too far away, makes wonderful pumpkin cupcakes and carrot cake, while Charli's Crew promotes a Halloween brunch. These may not be the traditional Halloween treats, but a plethora of pumpkin and gourd decorations mixed with that warming spice aroma make for an enjoyable festive season.

Family-Friendly Attractions:

If you're looking for some family-friendly attractions (or are just a kid at heart), look no further than Disneyland! During Halloween, Disneyland Paris takes an evil turn by extending its hours till 2 a.m. and unleashing our favorite Disney villains instead of heroes. So be prepared for a thrilling family event in Paris. This Halloween soiree takes over the entire kingdom.

Disneyland Paris: Photo by Bastien Nvs on Unsplash

Disneyland Paris' Halloween Soiree isn't the only Halloween event attracting families, foreigners, and locals. The famous Zoological Park creates a fun and adventurous Halloween event for families to get into the Halloween spirit.

Although the Zoological Park may not get you shaking in your boots, the park hosts parades and offers discounts to those dressed in costume. The Zoological Park is worth visiting for any family, especially to see the beautiful fall foliage, an impressive parade of creatures, and workshops for Halloween lovers of all ages.

Spooky Attractions:

As a study-abroad student, I wasn't too disappointed that France hasn't gotten into trick-or-treating because I aged out of it several years ago. Instead, I was more intrigued by the obsession with their scary Halloween themes. As I explored Halloween traditions in France, I was drawn to the advertisements for their most spooky attractions. In the United States, I had gone to several haunted houses and bone-chilling Halloween events. However, it could sometimes be challenging to find something spooky or scary. Though that never stopped my friends and me from driving two hours to find a mediocre haunted house.

Photo Credit: Manoir Halloween Festival                                                                                                                                    

If the family-friendly attractions aren't scary enough, don't worry because Le Manoir de Paris serves up some serious scares. Manoir de Paris advertises itself as the core horror-filled immersive attraction in Paris. Le Manoir de Paris transforms the Grande Halle de la Villette into a massive haunted festival with over four different haunted manors. You can expect "laughter and chills" as they stimulate "all your senses" because while you're there, you "become part of the show." It is important to note that it is not suitable for children under 12, but if you're 12 or over, be prepared to have the wits scared out of you.

Park Asterix may not have traditional Disney villains, but that doesn't stop the park from creating a stunning haunted park attraction you can enjoy for the entire month of October and until mid-November. As one of the more affordable attractions in Paris, Park Asterix offers a variety of thrilling events. For only 45 euros, Park Asterix caters to everyone. Considering that Halloween is a family-friendly holiday, Park Asterix has events for all ages. The Asterix Halloween attraction includes small thrills, moderate thrills, and "Big Terror for the most reckless."

My childhood self would be happy to see France embracing Halloween as a fun and creative holiday. So, while France may not have an abundance of apple picking, hayrides, and pumpkin carving activities, they have hit the mark on chilling Halloween adventures. It is worth noting that when you study abroad, work abroad, or visit a country as a tourist; you will always find different traditions, customs, and holidays.  Maybe there are no trick-or-treaters in France, but perhaps something far more exciting exists in trying new activities, events, and traditions as the French would say 'des bonbons ou un sort,' which translates as candies or a spell.