Trick or Treat?
If you answer “trick,” you shall get the ugly truth: Halloween is not yet big in France. The French aren’t too keen on this spooky season. Some think it’s too American, too commercialized, too n’importe quoi. It’s simply not ingrained in the French culture. During this time, they take their annual two-week vacances de la Toussaint and pay respects to the dead on the 1st or 2nd of November.
But if you answer “treat,” then here’s some good news for you: Halloween is getting bigger in France, especially in Paris, and there are so many ways to celebrate it. As a New Yorker who celebrates Hocus Pocus weekend like it’s Christmas, I’ve had my share of Halloween adventures in Paris, and each year only gets better as the French become more welcoming of it. Here are some tips on how to Halloween in Paris – fun and thrill guaranteed!
First Off, Costumes
What is Halloween if you won’t channel your inner Heidi Klum? This is, after all, the perfect occasion to disobey all Parisian fashion rules!
If you’re looking to make your costume, I recommend my fool-proof trinity of art stores in Paris: Rougier et Plé, Marché Saint Pierre – Dreyfus, and Leroy Merlin. Rougier et Plé is a multi-floor art store that sells everything an artist or an amateur may need, from fine arts to jewelry beads. Marché Saint Pierre – Dreyfus is a six-story textile paradise – it’s near impossible not to find the fabric you want here at the foot of Sacré-Cœur. Lastly, Leroy Merlin is the go-to place not only for Parisian apartment emergencies but also for crafts, hardware, and paint.
Meanwhile, if you prefer ready-made costumes and accessories, whether you’d like to buy or to rent, my favorite spots are À La Poupée Merveilleuse in Le Marais, Au Fou Rire in the 9e, and Au Clown de la République on Blvd Saint Martin. While these shops are open year-round, it does get busy in October – best to visit ahead of time to avoid lines or out-of-stock items.
Next, the Main Event
Halloween was never a solitary experience and oh boy we just cannot advise you to walk the streets of Paris alone in your déguisement without an event to go to.
For families: Most mairies and schools organize Halloween parties filled with games and candies. However, even in my mid-30s, I’d always choose to celebrate Halloween festivities at Disneyland Paris (with the villains), Parc Astérix (Obélix is just too cute), or Paris Zoological Park (receive 20% off if you come in costume!).
For the laid back: Why not organize your own? For my 1920s-themed Halloween entre amis, I was able to book a private bar easily through Privateaser. A house party is also not a bad idea if you have cool neighbors!
For the party animals: A couple of parties I’m super thrilled about this year are It’s A Mess Party: Halloween Party with Haunted House at The American Cathedral in Paris (electro music + drinks + costumes + a cathedral = wow) and Manoir Halloween Festival at La Villette (four haunted houses, five scream zones, food trucks, and ateliers).
For the adventurists: If you’re into true crime and mystery, what could be more perfect than solving Mona Lisa’s Death in Haunted Paris and Murder Mystery: Immersive Mansion Investigation?
Lastly, Have Fun
Halloween is best enjoyed with good company, so brush off anyone who doesn’t resonate the same energy you have. If your Frenchies are not down to fêter with you, don’t take it personally – as with any French holiday, most Parisians take this time to regenerate out of Paris. Also worth noting: The French don’t say “trick-or-treat.” They ask “des bonbons ou un sort” (candies or a spell) or “friandises ou bêtises” (sweets or mischief)!
Rougier et Plé – 15 Bd des Filles du Calvaire, 75003 Paris
Marché Saint Pierre – Dreyfus – 2 Rue Charles Nodier, 75018 Paris
Leroy Merlin – 52 Rue Rambuteau, 75003 Paris
Disneyland Paris – 52 Rue Rambuteau, 75003 Paris
Parc Astérix – 60128 Plailly
Parc Zoologique de Paris – Av. Daumesnil, 75012 Paris
A la Poupée Merveilleuse – 9 Rue du Temple, 75004 Paris
Au Fou Rire – 9 Rue du Temple, 75004 Paris
Au Clown de la République – 11 Bd Saint-Martin, 75003 Paris
American Cathedral in Paris – 23 Av. George V, 75008 Paris
Le Manoir de Paris à La Villette – 211 Av. Jean Jaurès, 75019 Paris
- More Halloween events to do in Paris right here
- Another place to look for Halloween costumes: Flea Markets!
- Need help decoding Parisian fashion rules?
Written by Maikka Piquemal for HiP Paris. Looking to travel? Check out Haven In for a fabulous vacation rental in Paris, France or Italy. Looking to rent long-term or buy in France or Italy? Ask us! We can connect you to our trusted providers for amazing service and rates.
2 comments on “Trick or Treat: How to Halloween in Paris”
As an expat living in Paris, there is one holiday that is at the _bottom_ of my list of “traditions that I miss” and that is the American celebration of Halloween. I am sorry to see this bit of Americana taking hold here in France! But I understand that I am not a “typical” American. Je suis irlandais. (But I spend most of my life in California.)
I was interested to learn only last week that Halloween actually has a Celtic history, coming from mostly the area that is now Ireland, the United Kingdom and northern France! Apparently Halloween used to be celebrated in the Bretagne region of France before it disappeared and now has recently returned by way of America 🙂