I worked in Paris for a couple years when I was just out of college (it sounds braggy no matter how I say it). So now that I've established that minimal amount of street cred with which to make broad generalizations: Halloween in France vs the U.S.A. Of the American holidays the French have somewhat embraced, Halloween is probably the most controversial. Among my expat and somewhat Americanized French friends, the general sense was that the French just don't get it. And this is what I love. Because it's true - what the hell is this weird holiday anyway? Young children dress up in sinister disguises and parade around demanding candy from strangers. So, yes, a lot not to get.
Halloween really started being a thing in France in the 90's and it's popularity seems to have ebbed and flowed since then. What hasn't really changed (and my favorite part) is their commitment to only wearing what we would consider "traditional" Halloween costumes. Spooky only - ghosts, vampires, witches, etc.; nary a sexy carrot or slutty Cookie Monster costume in sight (albeit those are pretty creepy in their own right). Decorations are generally limited to wee pumpkin displays outside the chain grocery stores (I'm looking at you Carrefour), and some elegant pastry displays in the windows of a few patisseries; no haunted houses, and no front lawn graveyards with animatronic zombies.
To celebrate, most young adults and would-be kiddie chaperones just throw Halloween parties for themselves, which are geared more towards the mesdames et messieurs than the little ones. Trick-or-treating is kind of hit or miss, varying from town to town and neighborhood to neighborhood. The most common doorway shout is "des bonbons ou un sort" directly translated as "candy or a spell." It's not quite as catchy as our alliterative phrasing, but since TPing and egging houses is not really a thing in France, the "trick" part is kind of moot (though a spell sounds much much worse).
One thing is certain, the French can't just sashay into their local CVS and lose themselves in aisles and aisles stocked with $8 bags of mini candy bars. USA! USA! Those friendly Frenchies who do take part in treat offerings are forced to hawk the French equivalent of Dum Dums and Jolly Ranchers - the bummer candy. You know what I'm talking about. They also don't have candy corn. Oh and they don't have Reese's. No Reese's! As I was writing up these memories, I started getting really upset at the lack of Reese's. Of course the French don't do the peanut butter thing. While I was working in Paris, my mom once sent me an amazing Reese's care package. In an attempt to traverse the icy cultural chasm in my office, I handed out samples of my precious, precious confectionaries only to be met with faces of disgust and borderline horror. But now I'm back. And those bat-shaped Reese's I drew? Those are new this year, and I am stupidly stoked. U.S.A for the win!