Halloween in Paris

Parisians don’t celebrate Halloween.

There’s no trick-or-treating, no garish displays at le pharmacie, no need for mothers to warn their kids about razor blades in les pommes, no teenagers tp-ing the trees by the Seine. And there’s no candy corn.


But we do have pumpkins. Lots of them.
And that’s how I’m celebrating Halloween this year.

I love roasting and eating pumpkin, and I don’t miss stepping over all the smashed ones in the street the following morning.

But candy corn?

I love candy corn (preferably stale) and I really do miss it.

Now that’s kinda scary…

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  • October 31, 2007 8:11am

    Candy corn (said in dreamlike whispering). I miss it too. Or rather, missed it. When I moved to Denmark I mentioned a moment of missing candy corn to my mother on the phone. A package came. Whoah, did I get candy corn. That was almost ten years ago. I haven’t touched it since.

    And to my dismay, Halloween is gaining a foothold here. Sigh.

  • October 31, 2007 8:32am

    candy corn…marshmallow pumpkins…tiny Snickers bars….yes, I miss things from the states too.

    I too am cooking with pumpkin…yesterday a wonderful pumpkin soup. today a savory tart with pumpkin and pancetta…both absolutely delicious, but still, candy corn sounds pretty good right now!

  • October 31, 2007 9:42am

    I never figured you for a candy corn lover!

    Ha! I told you in my email I had some….BAGS of it. Maybe if you’re nice you’ll get another little box in the mail.

  • Eva
    October 31, 2007 10:14am

    I’ll send you all the candy corn you want for 1 big bag of caramels au beurre sale’!

  • October 31, 2007 10:18am

    I love it, too, but to confess…

    …I really just like the white tips. If it weren’t totally gross and wasteful, I’d just eat the tips off and leave the rest. But I always feel too guilty.

    So this year, I haven’t eaten any. But I did buy myself some candy corn socks.

  • Stone
    October 31, 2007 10:41am

    BLECHHHHHHH candy corn!!!!!!! That stuff is grose…but Pancetta pumpkin tart?? Do you have a recipe?

  • October 31, 2007 10:45am

    Brave admission, David. Kinda like my confessing to teenage cake mix sins earlier this week. What next – blogging cheese sandwiches??

  • Lynh
    October 31, 2007 10:58am

    Not quite but almost — the candy porn pics make me salivate: here

  • Terrie
    October 31, 2007 12:01pm

    Happy Halloween David!

  • Lesley
    October 31, 2007 12:27pm

    I was in Paris two years ago at Halloween. There were a few decorations, but not much. Some of the pastry shops made some beautiful Halloween inspired concoctions (I recall some stunning orange eclairs at Fauchon)…But as for Trick or Treating, while at a friend’s in Montmartre two trick or treaters came by, and my friend had no clue what to do…I think the memo about Halloween didn’t get to everyone!

  • Val
    October 31, 2007 12:30pm

    This year at the drugstore I encountered some Caramel Candy Corn. It was heavenly. Well, you know, as heavenly as candy corn can be.

    Oh, and the little pumpkins made of candy corn material…those are good too!

  • October 31, 2007 12:48pm

    From Wikipedia:

    “The National Confectioners Association estimate 20 million pounds of candy corn are sold each year.”

    That’s a lot of candy corn … And I’ve never had one in my entire life. Just can’t keep up.

  • October 31, 2007 1:23pm

    really??? no Halloween??? oh my goodness what a tragedy!! it’s by far one of my all-time favorite holidays!! I thought Halloween was “reintroduced” to France years ago…

  • tr
    October 31, 2007 2:13pm

    Well here they do celebrate it and I’ve just heard what they say for Trick
    or Treat—Bonbon ou bonne blague!

  • Graeme
    October 31, 2007 2:39pm

    You’re absolutely right, the staler the better. They just get even more delicate and chalky.

  • Jill
    October 31, 2007 2:44pm

    I’m searching for a link to the recipe for that lovely pumpkin dish in the photo. Teasing us with pictures of food and not delivering is like telling you all about the candy (and candy corn) in my cauldron, waiting for tonight’s Trick or Treating children! Please share!

  • October 31, 2007 3:06pm

    Sara: You mean there’s people out there who don’t like candy corn? That’s just crazy talk…

    Jill: Recipe? No need. Just peel and cube firm-fleshed pumpkin (I use French pumpkin, but butternut squash works great.) Toss with olive oil, salt, pepper, any herbs like thyme or rosemary, and roast in a single-layer in a hot oven on a baking dish or sheet until cooked through, about 20 minutes or so. No need to be scared! : 0

    Graeme: Are we soulmates—or what?

    VeggieGirl: Halloween reared its head here a few years back, but never took hold. I think if you didn’t grown up with it (like eating tripe…) it’s hard to grasp.

    Kathy: Nice to know I can (sort a) make my own next year!

  • October 31, 2007 3:15pm

    The pumpkin looks delightful – and I’m desperate to try cooking with some. But I confess that I’ve been unable to find any that I’m sure are good for eating, rather than carving. I’m going farmers market searching soon, but have had no luck so far. maybe once the candy-corn eating is over…

  • October 31, 2007 3:55pm

    I’ll happily send you candy corn, David! Just tell me where and it’s on its way. Let’s just hope La Poste doesn’t lose it along the way.

  • Lynn D.
    October 31, 2007 6:11pm

    Here’s somebody else who doesn’t like candy corn and it’s hilarious:
    My husband love cc and has always wanted to make an artisanal version with local honey. I think I’ll try to adapt the recipe in the comments.

  • October 31, 2007 6:27pm

    Forgive me ignorance, but how do you get the pieces of pumpkin to be so firm? Isn’t it all just a bunch of mush when you take it out of the pumpkin? That looks delicious.

  • Linda H
    October 31, 2007 6:34pm

    David, you have lots of impressive company in loving Halloween candy. Today’s New York Times has an article in the dining section called “A Holiday from Good Taste” in which chefs are asked about their Halloween candy favorites. There were a few mentions of candy corn.

  • October 31, 2007 6:50pm

    Candy corn and store-bought marshmallows…both better (addictive even) when stale. Happy Halloween David!

  • Bruce
    October 31, 2007 8:42pm

    I have had French people tell me that they only feed pumpkin to the pigs! Is there any truth in that, David?

  • good enough cook
    November 1, 2007 12:07am

    Oh, David, YESSSSS! Now you’re talking! On a non-food-related discussion board, I recently got embroiled in a controversy about whether candy corn is best nibbled stripe-by-stripe or gobbled by the handful. My preference: cutting candy corn with peanuts and pretzels for the perfect balance of sugar, salt, and protein (and then gobbling the resulting addictive mixture). Care to weigh in on this vital issue?

  • November 1, 2007 2:10am

    Hillary: In France, the pumpkins (potirons) are firm, and gorgeous. They sell ’em by the slice since they’re so big. Regular ‘American’ pumpkins are too gooshy perhaps so I would use butternut squash.

    Here’s a picture of one French giant, and the potimarron, which tastes like a cross between a pumpkin and a chestnut. (Velouté recipe here.)

    Bruce: Pas de tout! (Although I assume you’re not inferring they think I’m a pig since they’re feeding them to me…)

    French people make very good soups out of their pumpkins—you must be thinking of sweet potatoes and corn-on-the-cob, which are still considered ‘pig feed’, although my friends love them when they’re served chez David.

  • Clare B
    November 1, 2007 5:55am

    OK, as a Brit, I have to ask…..what is candy corn? *hides from all the gasps of disbelief!!*

  • Steve
    November 1, 2007 6:35am

    I, too, wanted to make French-style pumpkin dishes in the U.S. and knew that the big orange globes used for Jack-o-lanterns would not work. I studied squash in Paris markets and then looked at what was available in the Bay Area. The closest match here seems to be called Red Kuri squash. It looks to me like a potiron.

  • November 1, 2007 8:51am

    Happy Halloween David! Actually there is more and more trick-or-treaters in France but more in “la provine” and in very residential areas like condo like buildings (where I was living 2 years ago (condo in France) kids were trick-or-treating).
    Here what I did with my “potimarron

  • Vanessa
    November 1, 2007 5:12pm

    I detest Halloween…here in the States it is referred to now as a “holiday”. When I was a a kid it was okay…people didn’t decorate a month before but just on the 31st.

    But I love stale candy corn…I’m not sure I’ve ever had it fresh.

  • Gretchen Michals
    November 1, 2007 8:23pm


    Candy corn is delicious but I’d forgo it gladly to spend autumn in Paris! I really enjoy your site and would love it if you added my link to your list!

    I have started a food blog about where I eat in Boston, MA and around New England. I can’t wait to add more entries!

  • Maryann@FindingLaDolceVita
    November 1, 2007 8:33pm

    My English bloke never had candy corn until this week! Anyway, David, when you were a kid, did you stick the candy corn on your teeth like we did? haha

  • Ten Speed Hal
    November 1, 2007 10:09pm

    What about the Day of the Dead? I guess tht would be All Saints Day in France, so it’s a church holy day? I suppose there aren’t any dancing sugar skeletons like in Mexico . . .

  • November 1, 2007 11:18pm

    Roasted pumpkin sounds delicious. I love pumpkin soup and pumpkin pie, but this sounds wonderful. Thanks. Karen

  • November 2, 2007 9:26am

    David, we had trick or treaters this year! Though I have to admit I did kind of nudge the issue by putting a notice in the lobby of the building mentioning that free candy was available on the 8th floor. It seems like every year until now either a) I bought candy and no one knocked or b) I didn’t buy candy and they did. So I decided to play it safe and avoid eating all the candy myself!

    Happy Halloween!

  • November 2, 2007 10:28am

    I live in West Hollywood and Halloween is a HUGE deal here. I can’t get down with the candy corn but I love pumpkin pie, soups etc.

  • Lisa
    November 2, 2007 11:49am

    You’ve gotta try the brown butter caramelized rice crispy treat recipe that was in the NYT food section this week. The accompanying article was interviews with various food people about their favorite halloween treats. Some funny stuff in there, and these rice crispy treats are a serious cut above (and I love the regular ones!)

  • Roe in NJ
    November 3, 2007 11:52pm

    Wow, candy corn– How about candy corn ice cream????.-Your cousin Sandy sent me your web site & it is wonderful:)