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Halloween fun German style

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Halloween has definitely gained popularity in Germany over the last ten years, no doubt helped by the prolonged American military presence here.

Although Germans don’t typically go trick-or-treating, you will still find Halloween decorations, costumes and pumpkins in the local stores as well as festivals that feature the seminal orange squash and other fall treats like chestnuts and apples.

Known as kürbis in German, pumpkins are grown widely here and farm stands spring up near the fields selling them to passersby. Germans make the most of their kürbis, using them in a variety of recipes like pumpkin soup and pumpkin turnovers that can be found seasonally on restaurant menus.

The town of Ludwigsburg, just north of Stuttgart, holds a pumpkin festival through November 4 featuring 150 tons of pumpkins displayed in whimsical shapes. Set on the grounds of the baroque palace of Ludwigsburg, this year’s theme is Switzerland and you will find the Matterhorn, Heidi, the Alphorn and other traditional Swiss themes all made up of thousands of pumpkins.

Europa Park gets in on the fun by hosting Halloween nights. Now through November 4, the park is transformed into an open air haunted house, illuminated with an orange glow and features a special parade with witches, goblins, ghouls and skeletons.

Finally, if you really want a fright, consider booking tickets to the Frankenstein Castle halloween spectacle that runs through November 4. The castle is said to have inspired the real Frankenstein story by Mary Shelly and is located north of Heidelberg. Monsters roam the grounds waiting to catch you off guard, participants dress up in ghoulish costumes and the castle is transformed into an eery spectacle. If you have younger kids, there is an afternoon program on Sundays that features a toned down version of the show.

Whatever your age, you can find something to get you into a ghostly mood this fall season in Germany.

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