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Last Updated: Tuesday, 31 October 2006, 17:52 GMT
French shun Halloween 'gimmicks'
Halloween pumpkin
Halloween is seen as "too American" by some
Halloween is said to be dying in France after a short-lived bonanza, according to media reports.

It seems the festival, which came to prominence in the late 1990s, is in decline because it is perceived as "too American".

An association called No to Halloween - which was set up to combat the trend - has now wound down as a result of the festival's waning appeal.

It said Halloween was artificially inflated to serve commercial interests.

"There was no need for the group to exist any more," former president Arnaud Guyot-Jeannin told Reuters news agency.

"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," he added.

As a result, supermarkets are reported have lost interest in the festival this year.

"Apart from a few local celebrations, Halloween is no longer taken into account by our stores," Thierry Desouches of Systeme U supermarket told Catholic newspaper La Croix.

"This lack of interest is real in all big-name supermarkets," he added.

"Our Halloween sales have been falling by half every year since 2002," Franck Mathais of toy retailer La Grande Recre told Le Monde newspaper.

'Anti-Americanism'

Benoit Pousset, head of costume company Cesar, attributed the festival's demise to "a cultural reaction linked to the rise of anti-Americanism".

The company itself is thriving in the US where - through its division Disguise - it provides one-third of all the Halloween costumes sold in the country.

Opposition to the festival is especially strong in French religious quarters, with the Catholic church seeking to promote All Saints' Day as the celebration of choice at this time of year.

Halloween grew alongside other "Anglo-Saxon" imports such as Valentine's Day or the stag or hen party which have become increasingly popular in recent years, correspondents say.


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