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10 Things We Learned About Sweden From Calling Five 'Random Swedes' (Slideshow)

10 Things We Learned About Sweden From Calling Five 'Random Swedes' (Slideshow)

We talked to five random citizens of Sweden using ‘Dial-A-Swede,’ and here’s what we found out

Shutterstock/ Jeanette Dietl

You might already know this one, especially if you read our article on 10 countries where you didn’t know they spoke English, but about 86 percent of Swedes are at least semi-fluent in the language. Of course they all have accents (which I now adore) and a few didn’t know the English translations for some food items or expressions, but all five seemed comfortable conversing in English, and a couple mentioned that this is the case with friends and family too — confirming the language skills aren’t just reserved for the “random Swedes.”

Swedes Speak English

Shutterstock/ Jeanette Dietl

You might already know this one, especially if you read our article on 10 countries where you didn’t know they spoke English, but about 86 percent of Swedes are at least semi-fluent in the language. Of course they all have accents (which I now adore) and a few didn’t know the English translations for some food items or expressions, but all five seemed comfortable conversing in English, and a couple mentioned that this is the case with friends and family too — confirming the language skills aren’t just reserved for the “random Swedes.”

Swedes Love Seafood

Shutterstock/ MichaelJohnWolfe

Since we generally called between 3 p.m. and 4 p.m. Swedish time (the country is six hours ahead of America’s East Coast), we started by asking each Swede what he or she had had for lunch, and was planning to have for dinner. All but one mentioned seafood. Lars had broccoli soup with salmon and cod (and said his favorite food is prawns), for instance, and Marcus had fish, but didn’t know the name in English. Even Tove, who was the odd one out who didn’t have or plan to have seafood at all that day, jumped at the chance to talk about fish when I brought it up. “I love it,” she said. “We eat it often… and I really like fresh fish and shrimp.” In fact, she said her favorite food is mackerel (makrill, in Swedish) with potatoes, butter, and spinach (spinet).

Looking to make some Swedish food yourself? Try this recipe for a Swedish standard, prawns on toast (toast Skagen), or this one for pickled mackerel and beet salad (Inlagd makrill med rödbetssallad), or this one for salmon and cod soup, which is very similar to Lars’s lunch.

Swedes Eat Healthy Food

Shutterstock/ Nickola Che

One of the other things that was very obvious in regard to the answers about food was that almost all of it was healthy, and no one talked about going out to eat that day. “People are very interested in cooking,” Joakim said. In fact, the unhealthiest dish mentioned was fried fish, which isn’t even all that bad, relatively speaking. In addition to the aforementioned answers, Joakim had noodles and meatballs and Tove had chicken and potatoes with a salad. She planned to have a light meal of fruit, yogurt, and muesli later in the evening.

Ali had a bit more to say after reporting that he had salad and roast beef for lunch. “In general we’re just very conscious of what we eat,” he explained. “It’s low carb, no trans fats, high protein, good fat... So it’s none of that processed food.” He’s aware of the typical (or stereotypical) American diet though, and had some fun with this topic by flipping the question back to me. “Is it like what I believe it is — like really huge meals and no one [cares] and every American is fat?” Ali asked, laughing. “Is there chicken wrapped in bacon, or stuff like that?”

Want to make one of Ali’s favorite meals? Check out this recipe for meatballs with cream sauce (köttbullar med gräddsås).

Swedes Crave Coffee

Thinkstock/ Nick Starichenko

Swedes Love International Food

Shutterstock/ marc mayer

I asked each Swede what his or her favorite international foods were, and everyone had an answer without needing to give it much thought. Lars loves Lebanese food (“It’s very fresh. I don’t normally like lamb… but they spice it in a way that makes it very positive for me”), and also Tex-Mex (which he feels is superior to Mexican food), as well as Vietnamese, Thai, and Chinese. Joakim enjoys Cantonese cuisine; Tove likes Italian, Mexican, and anything grilled or barbecued; Marcus is into pizza; and Ali likes anything spicy. “Indian food and Indonesian food, in particular,” he said. “That’s the one thing we don’t eat in Sweden; we don’t eat spicy food for some reason. We just don’t have that in our culture.”

Ali should try the five spiciest dishes in America, which can be seen here.

Swedes Enjoy the Outdoors and Staying Active

Thinkstock/ dolgachov

The first thing almost everyone wanted to talk about was how nice the weather is. This wasn’t just small talk, though; as it was mentioned because it affects the Swede’s plans for the day. “It’s warm here today [so] I’m going out in the forest to drive my motorbike,” Tove said happily. Even when I first asked Lars about food, his mind was elsewhere. “I just have to tell you that we have fantastic weather at the moment,” he said. “I was just down to the Atlantic Ocean to swim.” Ali, for his part, said he’s a sprinter, and is currently deep into his training.

Swedes Have Wanderlust

Shutterstock/ Bogdan Sonjachnyj

Lars goes to the U.S. about 10 times every year (and loves the steak here), as well as the U.K., but that’s mostly for work. Joakim has been traveling to Central America for 25 years, in addition to Asia and Africa, and recently got back from the Philippines. “We’re a traveling crowd in Sweden,” he said. “People travel a lot.” Tove agreed with this. “This year I have been in Italy to ski, and Croatia,” she said. “And I’m going to Norway to ski, and to Italy [again] in autumn because my daughter will be studying there.” Ali spent four months last year backpacking through Asia, and he hopes to go back this year. “We are a traveled people,” he said.

Click here for the 101 best restaurants in Asia for 2015.

Swedes Pay Attention to U.S. Politics

Shutterstock/ a katz

Ali started off making a joke when I said I was Matt, calling from New York. “Is this Donald Trump calling from New York,” he cracked. “Don’t you have a presidential campaign to attend to? Are you going to make America great again?” He also said he feels bad for Americans because of the election decision they’ll have to make, adding that he doesn’t trust Hillary Clinton at all either, for many reasons. “It’s the lesser of two evils,” he said. Ali added that he’s a big Bernie Sanders fan, but it’s unfortunate that the election will likely end up as a two-way race between Trump and Clinton. “You’ll have to fall in line and make a pledge to the god–emperor Trump and build that wall,” he said sarcastically, laughing.

Even Lars, when talking about the friendliness of Swedish people, used the analogy, “We don’t have any Donald Trump people.”

Swedes Can Be Shy

Shutterstock/ Gelpi JM

The only gripe I heard, other than about the lack of spicy food, was the fact that some Swedes can be shy. “Sometimes the people don’t even talk to each other,” Ali said. “So if you actually want to talk to people, you have to talk to people who are not Swedish. When you know them, they are very nice — but if you don’t know them, they are a bit hard to get to know.” A good example of this was my conversation with Marcus, which was short, and also full of extremely short answers. Here’s an example of Marcus’s responses to my questions about what he had for lunch, what his favorite international food is, what other cuisines he likes, and what he likes about living in Sweden: “fish,” “pizza,” “I don’t know,” and “the people.” When pressed for more information on the last question, he said, “Everyone is nice.” We wrapped after that.

Everybody else I spoke to was quite talkative. Of course, these are all people who openly volunteered to repeatedly talk on the phone to complete strangers.

Swedes Love Sweden!

We already know people can be honest and nice, from Ali and Lars, who also wanted to praise the equality of the country, on both large and small scales. Lars said men are expected to do as much around the house as women. There’s also very little corruption, he explained. The college application process is entirely based on grades, and has nothing to with connections, and almost all financial records are public record too.

The random Swedes really seem to like their home country, and all had plenty of nice things to say. “It’s really lovely for swimming and eating good shellfish and fish,” Joakim said. “Stockholm is really beautiful, [especially] on summer nights. It’s a nice, slow-paced country.”


Halloween in Sweden

What is Halloween like in Sweden? It was basically imported from the U.S. and started to catch on during the 1990s. But with the exception of a minimal event at a local park, some random jack-o-lanterns, and bakery and flower shop displays it definitely doesn’t compare to the hype it receives in the U.S.

There are two reasons I think it may flounder in popularity (three if you count that it’s an imported celebration, that is a tough sell in itself). First, Halloween falls very near the Alla Helgons Dag (All Saint’s Day) which is the first Saturday in November and is a day of remembering the dead. Many people visit cemeteries and lay candles on the graves of their deceased loved ones. It’s a very beautiful occasion that doesn’t quite mesh with dressing up in a costume and bobbing for apples. The other reason is that there seems to be a misunderstanding among many Swedes regarding the costumes.

Most Swedes I have spoken with are under the impression that on Halloween people dress up in horrifying, scary costumes and go out and play tricks on people like throwing eggs. It’s interesting that perception exists since in the U.S. Halloween is really a free-for-all in terms of costumes and I would venture to say that the vast majority of costumes, particularly for children, are quite the opposite of scary and the choices are limitless from being a princess, to a bunch of grapes, to a zipper. You can begin to understand the dislike many Swedes may have for Halloween if they think it’s all about blood and gore, zombies, grim reapers and pranks.

The history of Halloween is rooted in the Celtic festival of Samhain. The Celts recognized November 1st as their New Year and October 31st was the night when the veil between the living and the dead was the thinnest and ghosts returned to earth. People dressed up in costumes and lit bonfires. All Hallow’s Eve was brought to the U.S. by Irish immigrants in the 1840s and evolved into Halloween as we know it today which is about the fun of creativity, getting together, and trick-or-treating. Few people know much about it’s origins.

Although Halloween isn’t a raging hit in Sweden, there is still some celebrating going on. Trick-or-treating isn’t common but some people organize their own trick-or-treating and groups like the American Women’s Club (AWC) often hold Halloween parties in the larger cities. Every year the Malmö AWC has a costume party at a local indoor play place and the kids run around in their costumes, play, and get to do a little trick-or-treating by going around to stations where great efforts are made to have some American candy (I’m pretty keen on that part, especially the tiny twizzlers that were available this year). There is a pumpkin patch located in Borgeby which is not too far outside Malmö and you can find pumpkins at many supermarkets.


Skrämmande och läskigt gott (frightening and scary good) Ha en läskigt god Halloween (Have a scary good Halloween)

But I found the most fun Swedish interpretations of Halloween at the bakery Konditori Valhall. There were tiny prinsesstårta ghosts (spökbakelse) and full size prinsesstårta pumpkins, mother-in-law’s fingers (svärmors fingrar), and spider and bat chocolate cakes (kladdkaka). The person in charge of those powdered sugar spiders needs to be reminded there are eight legs, but it’s cute anyway.


Halloween in Sweden

What is Halloween like in Sweden? It was basically imported from the U.S. and started to catch on during the 1990s. But with the exception of a minimal event at a local park, some random jack-o-lanterns, and bakery and flower shop displays it definitely doesn’t compare to the hype it receives in the U.S.

There are two reasons I think it may flounder in popularity (three if you count that it’s an imported celebration, that is a tough sell in itself). First, Halloween falls very near the Alla Helgons Dag (All Saint’s Day) which is the first Saturday in November and is a day of remembering the dead. Many people visit cemeteries and lay candles on the graves of their deceased loved ones. It’s a very beautiful occasion that doesn’t quite mesh with dressing up in a costume and bobbing for apples. The other reason is that there seems to be a misunderstanding among many Swedes regarding the costumes.

Most Swedes I have spoken with are under the impression that on Halloween people dress up in horrifying, scary costumes and go out and play tricks on people like throwing eggs. It’s interesting that perception exists since in the U.S. Halloween is really a free-for-all in terms of costumes and I would venture to say that the vast majority of costumes, particularly for children, are quite the opposite of scary and the choices are limitless from being a princess, to a bunch of grapes, to a zipper. You can begin to understand the dislike many Swedes may have for Halloween if they think it’s all about blood and gore, zombies, grim reapers and pranks.

The history of Halloween is rooted in the Celtic festival of Samhain. The Celts recognized November 1st as their New Year and October 31st was the night when the veil between the living and the dead was the thinnest and ghosts returned to earth. People dressed up in costumes and lit bonfires. All Hallow’s Eve was brought to the U.S. by Irish immigrants in the 1840s and evolved into Halloween as we know it today which is about the fun of creativity, getting together, and trick-or-treating. Few people know much about it’s origins.

Although Halloween isn’t a raging hit in Sweden, there is still some celebrating going on. Trick-or-treating isn’t common but some people organize their own trick-or-treating and groups like the American Women’s Club (AWC) often hold Halloween parties in the larger cities. Every year the Malmö AWC has a costume party at a local indoor play place and the kids run around in their costumes, play, and get to do a little trick-or-treating by going around to stations where great efforts are made to have some American candy (I’m pretty keen on that part, especially the tiny twizzlers that were available this year). There is a pumpkin patch located in Borgeby which is not too far outside Malmö and you can find pumpkins at many supermarkets.


Skrämmande och läskigt gott (frightening and scary good) Ha en läskigt god Halloween (Have a scary good Halloween)

But I found the most fun Swedish interpretations of Halloween at the bakery Konditori Valhall. There were tiny prinsesstårta ghosts (spökbakelse) and full size prinsesstårta pumpkins, mother-in-law’s fingers (svärmors fingrar), and spider and bat chocolate cakes (kladdkaka). The person in charge of those powdered sugar spiders needs to be reminded there are eight legs, but it’s cute anyway.


Halloween in Sweden

What is Halloween like in Sweden? It was basically imported from the U.S. and started to catch on during the 1990s. But with the exception of a minimal event at a local park, some random jack-o-lanterns, and bakery and flower shop displays it definitely doesn’t compare to the hype it receives in the U.S.

There are two reasons I think it may flounder in popularity (three if you count that it’s an imported celebration, that is a tough sell in itself). First, Halloween falls very near the Alla Helgons Dag (All Saint’s Day) which is the first Saturday in November and is a day of remembering the dead. Many people visit cemeteries and lay candles on the graves of their deceased loved ones. It’s a very beautiful occasion that doesn’t quite mesh with dressing up in a costume and bobbing for apples. The other reason is that there seems to be a misunderstanding among many Swedes regarding the costumes.

Most Swedes I have spoken with are under the impression that on Halloween people dress up in horrifying, scary costumes and go out and play tricks on people like throwing eggs. It’s interesting that perception exists since in the U.S. Halloween is really a free-for-all in terms of costumes and I would venture to say that the vast majority of costumes, particularly for children, are quite the opposite of scary and the choices are limitless from being a princess, to a bunch of grapes, to a zipper. You can begin to understand the dislike many Swedes may have for Halloween if they think it’s all about blood and gore, zombies, grim reapers and pranks.

The history of Halloween is rooted in the Celtic festival of Samhain. The Celts recognized November 1st as their New Year and October 31st was the night when the veil between the living and the dead was the thinnest and ghosts returned to earth. People dressed up in costumes and lit bonfires. All Hallow’s Eve was brought to the U.S. by Irish immigrants in the 1840s and evolved into Halloween as we know it today which is about the fun of creativity, getting together, and trick-or-treating. Few people know much about it’s origins.

Although Halloween isn’t a raging hit in Sweden, there is still some celebrating going on. Trick-or-treating isn’t common but some people organize their own trick-or-treating and groups like the American Women’s Club (AWC) often hold Halloween parties in the larger cities. Every year the Malmö AWC has a costume party at a local indoor play place and the kids run around in their costumes, play, and get to do a little trick-or-treating by going around to stations where great efforts are made to have some American candy (I’m pretty keen on that part, especially the tiny twizzlers that were available this year). There is a pumpkin patch located in Borgeby which is not too far outside Malmö and you can find pumpkins at many supermarkets.


Skrämmande och läskigt gott (frightening and scary good) Ha en läskigt god Halloween (Have a scary good Halloween)

But I found the most fun Swedish interpretations of Halloween at the bakery Konditori Valhall. There were tiny prinsesstårta ghosts (spökbakelse) and full size prinsesstårta pumpkins, mother-in-law’s fingers (svärmors fingrar), and spider and bat chocolate cakes (kladdkaka). The person in charge of those powdered sugar spiders needs to be reminded there are eight legs, but it’s cute anyway.


Halloween in Sweden

What is Halloween like in Sweden? It was basically imported from the U.S. and started to catch on during the 1990s. But with the exception of a minimal event at a local park, some random jack-o-lanterns, and bakery and flower shop displays it definitely doesn’t compare to the hype it receives in the U.S.

There are two reasons I think it may flounder in popularity (three if you count that it’s an imported celebration, that is a tough sell in itself). First, Halloween falls very near the Alla Helgons Dag (All Saint’s Day) which is the first Saturday in November and is a day of remembering the dead. Many people visit cemeteries and lay candles on the graves of their deceased loved ones. It’s a very beautiful occasion that doesn’t quite mesh with dressing up in a costume and bobbing for apples. The other reason is that there seems to be a misunderstanding among many Swedes regarding the costumes.

Most Swedes I have spoken with are under the impression that on Halloween people dress up in horrifying, scary costumes and go out and play tricks on people like throwing eggs. It’s interesting that perception exists since in the U.S. Halloween is really a free-for-all in terms of costumes and I would venture to say that the vast majority of costumes, particularly for children, are quite the opposite of scary and the choices are limitless from being a princess, to a bunch of grapes, to a zipper. You can begin to understand the dislike many Swedes may have for Halloween if they think it’s all about blood and gore, zombies, grim reapers and pranks.

The history of Halloween is rooted in the Celtic festival of Samhain. The Celts recognized November 1st as their New Year and October 31st was the night when the veil between the living and the dead was the thinnest and ghosts returned to earth. People dressed up in costumes and lit bonfires. All Hallow’s Eve was brought to the U.S. by Irish immigrants in the 1840s and evolved into Halloween as we know it today which is about the fun of creativity, getting together, and trick-or-treating. Few people know much about it’s origins.

Although Halloween isn’t a raging hit in Sweden, there is still some celebrating going on. Trick-or-treating isn’t common but some people organize their own trick-or-treating and groups like the American Women’s Club (AWC) often hold Halloween parties in the larger cities. Every year the Malmö AWC has a costume party at a local indoor play place and the kids run around in their costumes, play, and get to do a little trick-or-treating by going around to stations where great efforts are made to have some American candy (I’m pretty keen on that part, especially the tiny twizzlers that were available this year). There is a pumpkin patch located in Borgeby which is not too far outside Malmö and you can find pumpkins at many supermarkets.


Skrämmande och läskigt gott (frightening and scary good) Ha en läskigt god Halloween (Have a scary good Halloween)

But I found the most fun Swedish interpretations of Halloween at the bakery Konditori Valhall. There were tiny prinsesstårta ghosts (spökbakelse) and full size prinsesstårta pumpkins, mother-in-law’s fingers (svärmors fingrar), and spider and bat chocolate cakes (kladdkaka). The person in charge of those powdered sugar spiders needs to be reminded there are eight legs, but it’s cute anyway.


Halloween in Sweden

What is Halloween like in Sweden? It was basically imported from the U.S. and started to catch on during the 1990s. But with the exception of a minimal event at a local park, some random jack-o-lanterns, and bakery and flower shop displays it definitely doesn’t compare to the hype it receives in the U.S.

There are two reasons I think it may flounder in popularity (three if you count that it’s an imported celebration, that is a tough sell in itself). First, Halloween falls very near the Alla Helgons Dag (All Saint’s Day) which is the first Saturday in November and is a day of remembering the dead. Many people visit cemeteries and lay candles on the graves of their deceased loved ones. It’s a very beautiful occasion that doesn’t quite mesh with dressing up in a costume and bobbing for apples. The other reason is that there seems to be a misunderstanding among many Swedes regarding the costumes.

Most Swedes I have spoken with are under the impression that on Halloween people dress up in horrifying, scary costumes and go out and play tricks on people like throwing eggs. It’s interesting that perception exists since in the U.S. Halloween is really a free-for-all in terms of costumes and I would venture to say that the vast majority of costumes, particularly for children, are quite the opposite of scary and the choices are limitless from being a princess, to a bunch of grapes, to a zipper. You can begin to understand the dislike many Swedes may have for Halloween if they think it’s all about blood and gore, zombies, grim reapers and pranks.

The history of Halloween is rooted in the Celtic festival of Samhain. The Celts recognized November 1st as their New Year and October 31st was the night when the veil between the living and the dead was the thinnest and ghosts returned to earth. People dressed up in costumes and lit bonfires. All Hallow’s Eve was brought to the U.S. by Irish immigrants in the 1840s and evolved into Halloween as we know it today which is about the fun of creativity, getting together, and trick-or-treating. Few people know much about it’s origins.

Although Halloween isn’t a raging hit in Sweden, there is still some celebrating going on. Trick-or-treating isn’t common but some people organize their own trick-or-treating and groups like the American Women’s Club (AWC) often hold Halloween parties in the larger cities. Every year the Malmö AWC has a costume party at a local indoor play place and the kids run around in their costumes, play, and get to do a little trick-or-treating by going around to stations where great efforts are made to have some American candy (I’m pretty keen on that part, especially the tiny twizzlers that were available this year). There is a pumpkin patch located in Borgeby which is not too far outside Malmö and you can find pumpkins at many supermarkets.


Skrämmande och läskigt gott (frightening and scary good) Ha en läskigt god Halloween (Have a scary good Halloween)

But I found the most fun Swedish interpretations of Halloween at the bakery Konditori Valhall. There were tiny prinsesstårta ghosts (spökbakelse) and full size prinsesstårta pumpkins, mother-in-law’s fingers (svärmors fingrar), and spider and bat chocolate cakes (kladdkaka). The person in charge of those powdered sugar spiders needs to be reminded there are eight legs, but it’s cute anyway.


Halloween in Sweden

What is Halloween like in Sweden? It was basically imported from the U.S. and started to catch on during the 1990s. But with the exception of a minimal event at a local park, some random jack-o-lanterns, and bakery and flower shop displays it definitely doesn’t compare to the hype it receives in the U.S.

There are two reasons I think it may flounder in popularity (three if you count that it’s an imported celebration, that is a tough sell in itself). First, Halloween falls very near the Alla Helgons Dag (All Saint’s Day) which is the first Saturday in November and is a day of remembering the dead. Many people visit cemeteries and lay candles on the graves of their deceased loved ones. It’s a very beautiful occasion that doesn’t quite mesh with dressing up in a costume and bobbing for apples. The other reason is that there seems to be a misunderstanding among many Swedes regarding the costumes.

Most Swedes I have spoken with are under the impression that on Halloween people dress up in horrifying, scary costumes and go out and play tricks on people like throwing eggs. It’s interesting that perception exists since in the U.S. Halloween is really a free-for-all in terms of costumes and I would venture to say that the vast majority of costumes, particularly for children, are quite the opposite of scary and the choices are limitless from being a princess, to a bunch of grapes, to a zipper. You can begin to understand the dislike many Swedes may have for Halloween if they think it’s all about blood and gore, zombies, grim reapers and pranks.

The history of Halloween is rooted in the Celtic festival of Samhain. The Celts recognized November 1st as their New Year and October 31st was the night when the veil between the living and the dead was the thinnest and ghosts returned to earth. People dressed up in costumes and lit bonfires. All Hallow’s Eve was brought to the U.S. by Irish immigrants in the 1840s and evolved into Halloween as we know it today which is about the fun of creativity, getting together, and trick-or-treating. Few people know much about it’s origins.

Although Halloween isn’t a raging hit in Sweden, there is still some celebrating going on. Trick-or-treating isn’t common but some people organize their own trick-or-treating and groups like the American Women’s Club (AWC) often hold Halloween parties in the larger cities. Every year the Malmö AWC has a costume party at a local indoor play place and the kids run around in their costumes, play, and get to do a little trick-or-treating by going around to stations where great efforts are made to have some American candy (I’m pretty keen on that part, especially the tiny twizzlers that were available this year). There is a pumpkin patch located in Borgeby which is not too far outside Malmö and you can find pumpkins at many supermarkets.


Skrämmande och läskigt gott (frightening and scary good) Ha en läskigt god Halloween (Have a scary good Halloween)

But I found the most fun Swedish interpretations of Halloween at the bakery Konditori Valhall. There were tiny prinsesstårta ghosts (spökbakelse) and full size prinsesstårta pumpkins, mother-in-law’s fingers (svärmors fingrar), and spider and bat chocolate cakes (kladdkaka). The person in charge of those powdered sugar spiders needs to be reminded there are eight legs, but it’s cute anyway.


Halloween in Sweden

What is Halloween like in Sweden? It was basically imported from the U.S. and started to catch on during the 1990s. But with the exception of a minimal event at a local park, some random jack-o-lanterns, and bakery and flower shop displays it definitely doesn’t compare to the hype it receives in the U.S.

There are two reasons I think it may flounder in popularity (three if you count that it’s an imported celebration, that is a tough sell in itself). First, Halloween falls very near the Alla Helgons Dag (All Saint’s Day) which is the first Saturday in November and is a day of remembering the dead. Many people visit cemeteries and lay candles on the graves of their deceased loved ones. It’s a very beautiful occasion that doesn’t quite mesh with dressing up in a costume and bobbing for apples. The other reason is that there seems to be a misunderstanding among many Swedes regarding the costumes.

Most Swedes I have spoken with are under the impression that on Halloween people dress up in horrifying, scary costumes and go out and play tricks on people like throwing eggs. It’s interesting that perception exists since in the U.S. Halloween is really a free-for-all in terms of costumes and I would venture to say that the vast majority of costumes, particularly for children, are quite the opposite of scary and the choices are limitless from being a princess, to a bunch of grapes, to a zipper. You can begin to understand the dislike many Swedes may have for Halloween if they think it’s all about blood and gore, zombies, grim reapers and pranks.

The history of Halloween is rooted in the Celtic festival of Samhain. The Celts recognized November 1st as their New Year and October 31st was the night when the veil between the living and the dead was the thinnest and ghosts returned to earth. People dressed up in costumes and lit bonfires. All Hallow’s Eve was brought to the U.S. by Irish immigrants in the 1840s and evolved into Halloween as we know it today which is about the fun of creativity, getting together, and trick-or-treating. Few people know much about it’s origins.

Although Halloween isn’t a raging hit in Sweden, there is still some celebrating going on. Trick-or-treating isn’t common but some people organize their own trick-or-treating and groups like the American Women’s Club (AWC) often hold Halloween parties in the larger cities. Every year the Malmö AWC has a costume party at a local indoor play place and the kids run around in their costumes, play, and get to do a little trick-or-treating by going around to stations where great efforts are made to have some American candy (I’m pretty keen on that part, especially the tiny twizzlers that were available this year). There is a pumpkin patch located in Borgeby which is not too far outside Malmö and you can find pumpkins at many supermarkets.


Skrämmande och läskigt gott (frightening and scary good) Ha en läskigt god Halloween (Have a scary good Halloween)

But I found the most fun Swedish interpretations of Halloween at the bakery Konditori Valhall. There were tiny prinsesstårta ghosts (spökbakelse) and full size prinsesstårta pumpkins, mother-in-law’s fingers (svärmors fingrar), and spider and bat chocolate cakes (kladdkaka). The person in charge of those powdered sugar spiders needs to be reminded there are eight legs, but it’s cute anyway.


Halloween in Sweden

What is Halloween like in Sweden? It was basically imported from the U.S. and started to catch on during the 1990s. But with the exception of a minimal event at a local park, some random jack-o-lanterns, and bakery and flower shop displays it definitely doesn’t compare to the hype it receives in the U.S.

There are two reasons I think it may flounder in popularity (three if you count that it’s an imported celebration, that is a tough sell in itself). First, Halloween falls very near the Alla Helgons Dag (All Saint’s Day) which is the first Saturday in November and is a day of remembering the dead. Many people visit cemeteries and lay candles on the graves of their deceased loved ones. It’s a very beautiful occasion that doesn’t quite mesh with dressing up in a costume and bobbing for apples. The other reason is that there seems to be a misunderstanding among many Swedes regarding the costumes.

Most Swedes I have spoken with are under the impression that on Halloween people dress up in horrifying, scary costumes and go out and play tricks on people like throwing eggs. It’s interesting that perception exists since in the U.S. Halloween is really a free-for-all in terms of costumes and I would venture to say that the vast majority of costumes, particularly for children, are quite the opposite of scary and the choices are limitless from being a princess, to a bunch of grapes, to a zipper. You can begin to understand the dislike many Swedes may have for Halloween if they think it’s all about blood and gore, zombies, grim reapers and pranks.

The history of Halloween is rooted in the Celtic festival of Samhain. The Celts recognized November 1st as their New Year and October 31st was the night when the veil between the living and the dead was the thinnest and ghosts returned to earth. People dressed up in costumes and lit bonfires. All Hallow’s Eve was brought to the U.S. by Irish immigrants in the 1840s and evolved into Halloween as we know it today which is about the fun of creativity, getting together, and trick-or-treating. Few people know much about it’s origins.

Although Halloween isn’t a raging hit in Sweden, there is still some celebrating going on. Trick-or-treating isn’t common but some people organize their own trick-or-treating and groups like the American Women’s Club (AWC) often hold Halloween parties in the larger cities. Every year the Malmö AWC has a costume party at a local indoor play place and the kids run around in their costumes, play, and get to do a little trick-or-treating by going around to stations where great efforts are made to have some American candy (I’m pretty keen on that part, especially the tiny twizzlers that were available this year). There is a pumpkin patch located in Borgeby which is not too far outside Malmö and you can find pumpkins at many supermarkets.


Skrämmande och läskigt gott (frightening and scary good) Ha en läskigt god Halloween (Have a scary good Halloween)

But I found the most fun Swedish interpretations of Halloween at the bakery Konditori Valhall. There were tiny prinsesstårta ghosts (spökbakelse) and full size prinsesstårta pumpkins, mother-in-law’s fingers (svärmors fingrar), and spider and bat chocolate cakes (kladdkaka). The person in charge of those powdered sugar spiders needs to be reminded there are eight legs, but it’s cute anyway.


Halloween in Sweden

What is Halloween like in Sweden? It was basically imported from the U.S. and started to catch on during the 1990s. But with the exception of a minimal event at a local park, some random jack-o-lanterns, and bakery and flower shop displays it definitely doesn’t compare to the hype it receives in the U.S.

There are two reasons I think it may flounder in popularity (three if you count that it’s an imported celebration, that is a tough sell in itself). First, Halloween falls very near the Alla Helgons Dag (All Saint’s Day) which is the first Saturday in November and is a day of remembering the dead. Many people visit cemeteries and lay candles on the graves of their deceased loved ones. It’s a very beautiful occasion that doesn’t quite mesh with dressing up in a costume and bobbing for apples. The other reason is that there seems to be a misunderstanding among many Swedes regarding the costumes.

Most Swedes I have spoken with are under the impression that on Halloween people dress up in horrifying, scary costumes and go out and play tricks on people like throwing eggs. It’s interesting that perception exists since in the U.S. Halloween is really a free-for-all in terms of costumes and I would venture to say that the vast majority of costumes, particularly for children, are quite the opposite of scary and the choices are limitless from being a princess, to a bunch of grapes, to a zipper. You can begin to understand the dislike many Swedes may have for Halloween if they think it’s all about blood and gore, zombies, grim reapers and pranks.

The history of Halloween is rooted in the Celtic festival of Samhain. The Celts recognized November 1st as their New Year and October 31st was the night when the veil between the living and the dead was the thinnest and ghosts returned to earth. People dressed up in costumes and lit bonfires. All Hallow’s Eve was brought to the U.S. by Irish immigrants in the 1840s and evolved into Halloween as we know it today which is about the fun of creativity, getting together, and trick-or-treating. Few people know much about it’s origins.

Although Halloween isn’t a raging hit in Sweden, there is still some celebrating going on. Trick-or-treating isn’t common but some people organize their own trick-or-treating and groups like the American Women’s Club (AWC) often hold Halloween parties in the larger cities. Every year the Malmö AWC has a costume party at a local indoor play place and the kids run around in their costumes, play, and get to do a little trick-or-treating by going around to stations where great efforts are made to have some American candy (I’m pretty keen on that part, especially the tiny twizzlers that were available this year). There is a pumpkin patch located in Borgeby which is not too far outside Malmö and you can find pumpkins at many supermarkets.


Skrämmande och läskigt gott (frightening and scary good) Ha en läskigt god Halloween (Have a scary good Halloween)

But I found the most fun Swedish interpretations of Halloween at the bakery Konditori Valhall. There were tiny prinsesstårta ghosts (spökbakelse) and full size prinsesstårta pumpkins, mother-in-law’s fingers (svärmors fingrar), and spider and bat chocolate cakes (kladdkaka). The person in charge of those powdered sugar spiders needs to be reminded there are eight legs, but it’s cute anyway.


Halloween in Sweden

What is Halloween like in Sweden? It was basically imported from the U.S. and started to catch on during the 1990s. But with the exception of a minimal event at a local park, some random jack-o-lanterns, and bakery and flower shop displays it definitely doesn’t compare to the hype it receives in the U.S.

There are two reasons I think it may flounder in popularity (three if you count that it’s an imported celebration, that is a tough sell in itself). First, Halloween falls very near the Alla Helgons Dag (All Saint’s Day) which is the first Saturday in November and is a day of remembering the dead. Many people visit cemeteries and lay candles on the graves of their deceased loved ones. It’s a very beautiful occasion that doesn’t quite mesh with dressing up in a costume and bobbing for apples. The other reason is that there seems to be a misunderstanding among many Swedes regarding the costumes.

Most Swedes I have spoken with are under the impression that on Halloween people dress up in horrifying, scary costumes and go out and play tricks on people like throwing eggs. It’s interesting that perception exists since in the U.S. Halloween is really a free-for-all in terms of costumes and I would venture to say that the vast majority of costumes, particularly for children, are quite the opposite of scary and the choices are limitless from being a princess, to a bunch of grapes, to a zipper. You can begin to understand the dislike many Swedes may have for Halloween if they think it’s all about blood and gore, zombies, grim reapers and pranks.

The history of Halloween is rooted in the Celtic festival of Samhain. The Celts recognized November 1st as their New Year and October 31st was the night when the veil between the living and the dead was the thinnest and ghosts returned to earth. People dressed up in costumes and lit bonfires. All Hallow’s Eve was brought to the U.S. by Irish immigrants in the 1840s and evolved into Halloween as we know it today which is about the fun of creativity, getting together, and trick-or-treating. Few people know much about it’s origins.

Although Halloween isn’t a raging hit in Sweden, there is still some celebrating going on. Trick-or-treating isn’t common but some people organize their own trick-or-treating and groups like the American Women’s Club (AWC) often hold Halloween parties in the larger cities. Every year the Malmö AWC has a costume party at a local indoor play place and the kids run around in their costumes, play, and get to do a little trick-or-treating by going around to stations where great efforts are made to have some American candy (I’m pretty keen on that part, especially the tiny twizzlers that were available this year). There is a pumpkin patch located in Borgeby which is not too far outside Malmö and you can find pumpkins at many supermarkets.


Skrämmande och läskigt gott (frightening and scary good) Ha en läskigt god Halloween (Have a scary good Halloween)

But I found the most fun Swedish interpretations of Halloween at the bakery Konditori Valhall. There were tiny prinsesstårta ghosts (spökbakelse) and full size prinsesstårta pumpkins, mother-in-law’s fingers (svärmors fingrar), and spider and bat chocolate cakes (kladdkaka). The person in charge of those powdered sugar spiders needs to be reminded there are eight legs, but it’s cute anyway.