After an uncertain start in the 1990s, the American tradition of Halloween celebrations on October 31 has caught on in Norway. Stores now feature Halloween items and pumpkins, and one local grower who invested in pumpkin production is enjoying fairly big business.
“When we started getting into pumpkins in 2000, there was hardly any gresskar (pumpkin, in Norwegian) production to speak of in the country,” Erik Rosnes of Finstad Gårdsdrift in Sande told newspaper Aftenposten. “This year it will amount to a thousand tons.”
Finstad delivers around 20 percent of the pumpkins sold in Norway and it’s a short season, mostly ending on the day after Halloween. Coop Norge reported that its sales have tripled since the grocery store chain started selling pumpkins in 2002, with Paul Westby of the NorgesGruppen chain telling Aftenposten that sales have “taken off” in the past few years.
From being a largely unknown holiday in Norway just over a decade ago, it’s now more common for households to have a carved pumpkin outside their doors and for children to dress in costumes and go trick-or-treating (called knask eller knep in Norwegian).
Grown-ups have seized upon the Halloween fad, too, seeing it as an excuse to dress in costume and have a party. The parties are often held on the weekends before or after October 31, prolonging the season a bit for the retailers.