Tue Oct 31, 8:43 AM ET
PARIS (Reuters) - Halloween, ancient Celtic festival or U.S. marketing gimmick according to your point of view, is dying in France after a short-lived breakthrough, French media reported on Tuesday.
"Halloween pretty much buried," the daily le Monde reported, quoting Benoit Pousset, head of costume company Cesar, who attributed the festival's demise in France to "a cultural reaction linked to the rise of anti-Americanism."
"Our Halloween sales have been falling by half every year since 2002," Franck Mathais of toys retailer La Grande Recre told the newspaper.
A group called "Non a Halloween" set up to fight the trend, which it saw as an unwelcome intrusion fostered by purely commercial interests, even wound itself up last year.
"There was no need for the group to exist any more," former president Arnaud Guyot-Jeannin told Reuters.
Halloween is believed to have originated as a Celtic agricultural festival before becoming associated with the night before the Christian festival of All Saints Day on November 1.
During the 20th century, it became firmly established in the United States, marked by hollowed out pumpkin heads and children dressed as ghosts demanding "Trick or Treat" from passers-by.
Introduced in France during the 1990s, it aroused strong opposition from many who found it artificial and over commercial and the festival never caught on properly. The Catholic church was particularly skeptical.
The daily Le Parisien painted a desolate picture of abandoned pumpkins and sorry displays in isolated restaurant doorways and declared "Halloween is dead."
"Halloween was a marketing gimmick aimed mainly at children. It's a big festival of consumption selling outfits, masks, gadgets and it couldn't last forever," Guyot-Jeannin said.
Yeah, you know, like Christmas.