Only two in 10 Swedes say they will celebrate Halloween this year, according to a study conducted by the Swedish Trade Federation.
No, Halloween never got established as the big holiday most Swedish businesses were hoping it would become. Sales of pumpkins, costumes and scary masks are decreasing, and 60 percent of all Swedes don’t buy anything special for the trick-or-treating holiday. Halloween has its roots in the Celtic festival of Samhain and the Christian holiday, All Saints' Day, although today it is largely a secular celebration.
Halloween was mentioned in Sweden during the 1950s and 60s, and police were called to a Halloween celebration in Stockholm as early as 1961, though Halloween for the most part was known to Swedes because it was mentioned in English school books.
During the 1990s, however, Swedish companies, especially Hard Rock Café in Stockholm and Buttericks (a Swedish chain of party stores), began making an effort to stimulate interest in the holiday. The sales of Halloween-related paraphernalia increased during 1991 and spread to Göteborg and Malmö the following years. In 1995, Halloween became an all-Swedish event, and two years later it got attention from most stores around the country. Since 2005 the trend has been in the other direction with interest in Halloween steadily declining. Halloween isn't hyped the way it used to be but there are still a lot of Halloween-themed shop windows with black and orange decorations when you walk the main cities' streets.
While Halloween may be declining, Christmas and Easter are increasing. One spokesperson from the department store Ĺhléns recently claimed "..the week before Halloween we actually sell more Christmas items than Halloween decorations."
Both Valentine's Day and Halloween are foreign traditions to Swedes and have traditionally meant little for both people and merchants.
Boo! Halloween never took hold in Sweden and this year, the sales are down significantly on Halloween-related stuff.