Living in Geneva changes as the population changes so for an up-to-date blog on customs, candy and trick or treating click here.

This post is adapted from information from one of our members over at Schwingen in Switzerland. If you’re accustomed to celebrating Halloween in your home country with costume parties, trick-or-treaters, and other activities, be prepared for a surprise – Halloween, Switzerland style is a little different.

This "big" bag contains only 21 pieces of candy

This “big” bag contains only 21 pieces of candy

10.  Bags of Halloween candy are much smaller.  There are 10-20 pieces per bag and each bag costs a lot more.

9.    You have to search hard to find the candy.  It’s not like the US where they sell it everywhere.  There are aisles of chocolate bars in the grocery stores.  Finding individually wrapped candies suitable for your Halloween candy bowl is another matter. You can find bags of fun-size Snickers and individually wrapped Kit Kats at stores like Manor and Coop.

One of the few homes near Geneva I've seen decorated for Halloween

One of the few homes near Geneva I’ve seen decorated for Halloween

8.    Costumes are scary and supernatural-themed (witches, zombies, vampires, brains, blood, guts, etc.).  You don’t see nurses, TV/movie characters, famous people, cartoon characters, superheroes, etc.

7.    No trick-or-treaters.

6.    Halloween is not a huge holiday here so you get strange looks riding the tram or walking down the street in costume.  I found it helpful to wish everyone who looked at me strangely a “happy Halloween”.  It usually elicited a smile.

5.    No pumpkin spice lattes.  There may be a few Starbucks in town, but they don’t offer this seasonal favorite. Found! Pumpkin spice lattes are new to Geneva this fall.


4.    You might be disappointed with your Snickers after getting used to Swiss chocolate.   After you spend more time in Switzerland, American chocolate definitely doesn’t taste the same!

3.    No costumes for dogs.

Image credit: Wikipedia

Image credit: Wikipedia

2.    Here, pumpkins are for eating.  It is hard to find carving pumpkins (though they are available at Coop) and there are definitely not any pumpkin patches replete with hay rides, corn mazes, or trick-or-treating.

1.    No “It’s The Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown” on TV.

Happy Halloween, no matter how you celebrate this year!  Eat, drink and be scary!

We are a group of international women living in Geneva, Switzerland.  If you would like to join the AIWC, please visit our website at