Halloween II: The Children Take the Streets

Halloween was a bit of a bust here, as you know if you read my blog posting of November 5, with a total of just five trick-or-treating kids at our place that evening.

But last night, we had a whole other Halloween experience. Fright Night Friday. The Mob that Devoured Candies. Drumbeats in Daglan. The Children Take the Streets.

Just you wait.

It all began on Thursday morning, while I was in front of the house, vacuuming my car. Down the road came our friend Sophie (Sophie the Bread-Baker, as opposed to another friend, Sophie the Jeweller), to ask if my wife Jan and I could do a favour.

The Amicale Laïque (club) was hosting an Autumn and Halloween Festival (Fête d’automne et d’Halloween) for families on Friday night, and it would include a walk through the village, led by a group of drummers. (Also on the agenda, singing by Daglan’s school children; a chili dinner; and a contest for the best costumes.) Our role was to welcome the parade at our door, ask two Halloween-related questions of the kids, and then hand them each a small bag of candies. Of course I said that we’d be glad to help.

It was made wonderfully easy for us, because everything had been prepared. Sophie handed me a carved-out white squash with a candle inside; we were to light it on Friday night and place it on the front steps so the kids would know to stop at our house. She also gave me a green plastic bag, full of smaller bags of candies, and two cards with the questions we were to ask.

Here is the first one, which asks for the name of the expression in the Harry Potter books for killing someone — in other words, the Killing Curse. As you can see, the answer  is Avadakédavra!! (Although I’ve also seen it written as two words, Avada Kedavra.)

Check out the spelling of the spell.

Check out the spelling of the spell.

The second question asks for the name of the big book of magic formulas or spells used by sorcerers or witches. The answer, evidently, is un grimoire.

What you call a book of magic spells.

What you call a book of magic spells.

And here’s our bag of candies, sitting on our kitchen counter and ready for Friday night:

Our plastic bag of candies was all set to go.

Our plastic bag of candies was all set to go.

Unfortunately, the weather on Friday kept deteriorating, with a fairly steady rain falling by the late afternoon. By that point, Jan and I were pretty sure that the torchlight stroll through the village (la balade aux flambeaux) would be cancelled.

Nevertheless, I lit the candle in our white squash and put it on the front steps just before 7 p.m., when Jan and I went to the TV room to watch a program. Here’s how the squash looked when I put it outside, just as the rain stopped falling:

Our white squash was glowing nicely on the front steps.

Our white squash was glowing nicely on the front steps.

At 7:30, we went back to the front door to look for any action. There wasn’t any to be seen — at least right away — but then we could hear the drummers in the distance, heading our way.

(The drummers are a group of young people from neighbouring St. Pompon who often feature in local parades and similar events; they are quite good, and quite loud. I’m sorry I can’t deliver the sound for you, so as you’re reading this you should just try to imagine the soundtrack from the last film you saw in which an African village goes into a drumming frenzy while the warriors dance around a fire, before setting out to attack another village. Got that?)

And suddenly, there they were, up in the main village square. First to greet Jan and me was Sophie (the Bread-Baker), who advised us of a change of plan. It seems that the people at the first house the group visited had not understood the instructions about asking questions of the kids, and so it was decided that we should just scrap our two questions. But otherwise, it was all systems go.

So down the street came the group, with our other friend Sophie (this time, Sophie the Jeweller), leading the way. By now, the drum beats were fast, furious and incredibly loud. Here was the scene as the group approached:

By day, talented jeweller; by night, Leader of the Pack.

By day, talented jeweller; by night, Leader of the Pack.

And then they were upon us — drummers in the front, followed by the kids in costume, followed by their parents. Here’s the crowd:

Drummers first, then kids in costume, then parents.

Drummers first, then kids in costume, then parents.

Now the group swings around our corner, heading for our house. Meanwhile, Jan has run inside and emerged onto our steps with the bag of candies, ready for the action.

The mob of kids surges towards our front steps.

The mob of kids surges towards our front steps.

And what action it was, as the costumed kids grabbed for their bags of candy. Jan could hardly keep up, and I tried to hand out bags of candy as well, while keeping my trusty camera going. In this next shot, a young vampire has his eyes on a bag of candy — or possibly Jan’s neck:

Jan is beseiged by candy-seekers.

Jan is besieged by candy-seekers.

And then it was over; we had run out of candies, and the crowd simply had to move on. Here they are:

Candy all gone, the crowd moves onward.

Candy all gone, the crowd moves onward.

The reports would heard today were all positive. Everyone had a great time during the torchlight stroll,  and the dinner at the salle des fêtes (community hall) was a big success.

Maybe, just maybe, this is a tradition that could replace the “normal” Halloween trick-or-treating. And maybe we could go a step further, next year.

Just as an example, I could see all the kids performing Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” in the village square next Halloween. I’m not sure of the exact lyrics in French, but I’ll bet it would sound great.

This entry was posted in Festivals in France, Holidays in France, Life in southwest France, Weather in the Dordogne and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

9 Responses to Halloween II: The Children Take the Streets

  1. marshp2013 says:

    Great post, Loren — good that Halloween came to your door eventually. It all looks a little medieval … Best of all, I learned how to spell abracadabra in French!

    • loren24250 says:

      Daglan is definitely a medieval village. (In fact, some of the village residents may well date back to medieval times themselves!)

      • John Ison says:

        Avadakédavra is an interesting word. It does not appear in Larousse or Collins but the word abracadabra does appear with the same meaning and spelling as English but a totally different pronunciation … æbrəkəˈdæbrə. Perhaps it is medieval spelling, but I don’t think they spelled anything then.
        Interesting evening. Good for the village to step in when Halloween sputtered. Meilleurs voeux aux troglodytes de Daglan.

  2. Sam says:


    Minuit approche et quelque chose de démoniaque attend dans le noir
    Au clair de lune, tu aperçois quelque chose qui fait arrêter ton coeur de battre
    Tu tentes de crier mais la terreur avale ton cri avant qu’il ne sorte
    Tu ne peux presque plus bouger, l’horreur te regarde droit dans les yeux
    Tu es paralysé-e-

    Parce que c’est l’angoisse, la nuit de l’angoisse
    Et personne ne va te sauver de la bête prête à frapper
    Parce que c’est l’angoisse, la nuit de l’angoisse
    Tu te bats pour ta vie dans un film d’angoisse, de meurtre

    Tu entends la porte claquer et tu te rends compte qu’il n’y a nulle part où t’enfuir
    Tu sens une main froide et tu te demandes si tu reverras la lumière du jour
    Tu fermes les yeux en espérant que ce soit juste ton imagination
    Mais pendant tout ce temps tu entends la chose qui rampe derrière toi
    Il est déjà trop tard pour toi

    Parce que c’est l’angoisse, la nuit de l’angoisse
    Il n’y a pas de deuxième chance contre la bête aux quarante yeux
    L’angoisse, la nuit de l’angoisse
    Tu te bats pour ta vie dans un film d’angoisse, de meurtre

    Les créatures de la nuit hurlent, les morts marchent et commencent leur masquarade
    Tu ne peux pas échapper aux mâchoires des envahisseurs cette fois
    (Elles sont grandes ouvertes)
    Ta vie touche à sa fin

    Ils sont là pour toi, les démons t’entourent de tous les côtés
    Ils s’empareront de toi, sauf si tu changes ton numéro
    Il est temps que nous nous blottissions ensemble
    Toute la nuit je te sauverai de l’horreur de l’écran
    je te montrerai

    Que c’est l’angoisse, la nuit de l’angoisse
    Car je peux te faire frissonner plus qu’aucun fantôme n’osera jamais
    L’angoisse, la nuit de l’angoisse
    Alors laisse moi te serrer et partager
    Une frisson, tuant, plus lent, plus froid ici ce soir

    (Je vais te faire frissonner ce soir)
    La nuit tombe partout sur le pays
    Minuit approche
    Des créatures rampent en quête de sang
    Et viennent semer la terreur dans vos maisons

    J’vais te faire frissoner ce soir, bébé
    J’vais te faire frissoner ce soir, chéri-e
    La nuit de l’angoisse, bébé, ouahou!

    Une odeur putride empeste l’air
    L’odeur de corps vieux de 40 000 ans
    Des vampires blâfards sortant de toutes les tombes
    T’encerclent pour sceller ton destin

    Et même si tu te bats pour rester en vie
    Ton corps commence à trembler
    Car un simple mortel ne peut résister
    Au frisson du démon

    Author’s comment:
    Une tentative infructueuse, une chanson intraduisible!! Vous avez le sens, mais la “poésie” restent dans les mots anglais et le rythme!

    Read more at http://lyricstranslate.com/en/thriller-thriller.html#S3exLEgbjpofduPz.99

  3. loren24250 says:

    Sam, that is easily the longest “comment” ever received by Radio Free Daglan — and in fact may have set a world record for comments on any blog, anywhere, on any subject. And best of all, we are all set for the Village People (or Village Kids) to do “Thriller” in our square next Halloween. Thanks for the initiative!

  4. Double D's says:

    Great to see the Halloween spirit in France; we were getting worried the halloween thing was starting to fade. Here we had around 20 kids last year which seemed very odd. This year over 70 so order has been restored. One of the best costumes we have ever seen was a girl dressed completely in pink with a running shoe on her head…she was bubble gum stuck to her shoe. Genius!

  5. loren24250 says:

    Glad to hear that the Halloween scene is alive and well in the Big Smoke.

  6. Suzanne Leslie says:

    I’ll make a special trip over next year to see you dancing in the square. The werewolf would suit you I think.

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