Halloween in Germany and the Tri-Border Region: Pumpkin Patches and Celebrations

Spending your first Halloween in Germany?  Don’t worry. It’s going to be fun.

Will I be able to get pumpkins in Germany?

Yes!  Pumpkins and squash abound in the farming region of Germany during the months of September and October (though by Thanksgiving they are gone).  In fact, I’ve seen  more variety of squash here than in the states which is funny to me since the Germans don’t eat as many of them as we do.  They eat spaghetti squash and butternut and not much else.  Pumpkins are only used as decorations for Halloween which is beginning to catch on both here and in the Netherlands.  Look for the local vegetable stands on the side of the roads for the best selection and a sign that says “Kurbiss zu verkaufen.”  Kurbiss means pumpkin, but seems to cover most large squash.

Trick-or-Treating?

While Halloween is not traditionally German, the locals are catching on, especially in this area with so much US influence.  Chances are, you’ll have a handful of German kids knocking on your door. In my village, one of the Americans was kind enough to ask around the community and make a map of all the participating houses.  That was fun.  For those in smaller villages or if you’d like a more “American experience,” head over to Schinnen’s Trunk or Treat.

The best stands?

While you probably won’t find a muddy pumpkin patch in the GK area, you can leave your galoshes at home and find amazing pumpkins at a couple local stands.
 
There are two that I’ve used for the past few years that are friendly, reliable, and have an amazing selection. The first is in Stahe on the Gillrath end of town right on the B56. You’ll see the big wooden sign on the side of the road that says “Kürbiss.” Park there and ring the bell at the large opened doors. The lady doesn’t speak a lot of English, but she’s very sweet and patient as the little ones walk around and touch every single pumpkin, squash, and gourd that she has. And she has a lot ranging from tiny tea light size to big enough to put a baby in. :) This place also sets up a spargel and eerdbeeren (asparagus and strawberry) stand each spring that is really nice!
 
The second place that I’ve used and loved is in Gillrath on that short diagonal road that you turn on to head to base near the Grueneswarenhaus and the tiny steam train station (Selfkantbahn/Nikolausbahn). This is a produce/flower shop all year round. I don’t buy normal produce there (because Bischoff’s around the corner is AMAZING), but this place is great for flowers in the spring/summer, Christmas trees (we got ours there every year), and of course, pumpkins. They also have a wonderful selection and are very helpful and friendly.
 
Is Halloween celebrated in Germany?
 
Though not a traditional Germany holiday, through the influence of American culture here in movies and television, Halloween is making a slow start here. Pumpkins, costumes, witches, and packaged candy shows up in German and Dutch shops and markets around the end of September. On Halloween night, some German kids do go Trick-or-Treating in the neighborhoods. Some wear costumes and others don’t, but they all know about the candy part of the holiday. In some villages, the Americans and Canadians will work together to make a “trick-or-treating map” of participating houses in the village. 
 
I recently perused a German article explaining that not only can you carve pumpkins, but you can eat them too! There is a Halloween in Deutchland site – all in German, but interesting to peruse… and.. you can always use Babelfish to do some rough translating.
For Costumes, you’re lucky to have several options available in the area especially with Carnival just around the corner.
 
The best parties?

For younger kids…

  • Schinnen’s Trunk or Treat is always a hit though it get crowded.  Do go early especially if you are not participating with your “trunk” as you may not be able to park on base. 
  • If the weather is nice, head down to Pumpkin Island to pick your pumpkin and play.  There’s a carving station, corn maze with trikes to ride through it, hay forts and pirate ships, coffee, hot cocoa, pumpkin soup, and pumpkin cake.  Lots for fun for families.  2,50 entrance fee. Open until Nov 2. about 45 minutes from GK. http://www.pumpkin-island.de/
  • MoviePark Germany is known for their creepy Halloween celebration, but they do have a child-friendly celeebration as well.  Check it out!  [Read this before going]

Village celebrations…

  • Kasteel Hoensbroek and Monschau also normally host Halloween themed events. Check out their websites for more information and check your local paper. Even if you don’t read German or Dutch, the word Halloween will stand out and you can probably find dates and times as well.

For older kids and adults… (creepier parties)…

  • If you’re looking for a Halloween party out of the US loop, check out the Burg Satzvey. Only 45 minutes from GK, it has a Halloween celebration every year. See their website for more info: http://www.burgsatzvey.de
  • MoviePark Germany does a haunted park every year that is extremely creepy. Amusement park and scary stuff?  Could be a winning combination for the bravest of you.  :) This year (2013) they are having a Walking Dead maze, so all you zombie lovers should be happy too. There is an area for small children too. There are some important “survival” tips that are important.  Please read this before going.

A really creepy dinner party…

  • If you’re willing to drive about 2.5 hours south to Burg Frankenstein just south of Darmstadt, you can celebrate Halloween with style at a really interesting place. The celebrations run from 19 October through 4 November and include both late night adult parties and fun-filled family days. Look for a link for “gruseldinner” on the website. There are wonderfully themed dinner parties with Frankenstein, Dracula, and even Jack the Ripper scheduled all year, not just Halloween.
    (http://frankenstein-restaurant.de/content/e1309/e1630/index_ger.html)
HAPPY HALLOWEEN!

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2 Responses to “Halloween in Germany and the Tri-Border Region: Pumpkin Patches and Celebrations”

  1. Kim October 7, 2013 9:11 am #

    FYI, the pumpkin island website says they will be closed this year.

  2. Anonymous October 25, 2009 9:02 pm #

    on a good weather day, this is a nice fall outing. Lots of pumpkins to look thorugh to purchase, a carving station, a corn maze (with big adult-sized trikes to ride through the maze), forts and pirate ships made of hay stacks. Coffee, hot cocoa, pumpkin soup and pumpkin cake for snacking. 2,50 entrance fee. Open until Nov 2. about 45 minutes from GK
    http://www.pumpkin-island.de/

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