Effingham Daily News, Effingham, IL

November 1, 2012

German teen falls for U.S. Halloween traditions

Ryan Ellis
Effingham Daily News

EFFINGHAM — Teenager from Germany finds love in U.S. Halloween traditions

raditions differ greatly throughout the world. Markus Klueck, of Soegel, Germany, learned that from his first trip to the United States three years ago.

    At the time, Klueck, now 17, had never heard of the holiday Halloween.

    “My first thought was, ‘crazy Americans’,” said Klueck.

He never saw the decorations or had many of the candies before he visited his Aunt Liz and Uncle Dave Vehl in Effingham. His aunt and uncle met each other while Vehl was stationed in Germany during the Vietnam War. His aunt moved to the United States to be with Vehl.

    Since his first visit, Klueck comes to the U.S. for two weeks every year during October. Klueck has been introduced to candies U.S. citizens take for granted, such as Oreos, Reeses Pieces or Skittles.

    Klueck said the visits here do not interrupt his life nor education. Germany has year-round schooling, so he uses his fall break to visit his aunt and uncle during the Halloween season.

    Now,  the teenager embraces the holiday.

    “I never used to decorate for Halloween before,” said Vehl. “I was like, is that legal?” said Klueck, the first time he went teepeeing.

    Klueck said kids egg houses in Germany, but they don’t teepee.

    “I think if people did that in Germany, they’d be like, what the hell, ’cause they’re not used to it.”

    Klueck said one of the things about coming to the U.S. during October is the variety of haunted houses he’s able to visit. He said haunted houses are scarce in Germany.

    “In the biggest cities, they have some haunted houses, but they’re not as good as they are here.”

    During his visit to Night Terrors, a haunted house in Effingham, Klueck said he was given a shirt after an employee learned he was from Germany.

    “That’s what I really like cause I’m not used to it,” said Klueck.

    He said he really enjoys going to the haunted houses and trails every year.

    Klueck said he’s seen how far the Halloween influence goes in the U.S., especially on TV. He said he’s seen some of the “Friday the 13th” films on TV.

    “Jason. Yeah, that one was bad,” he said.

    Klueck also said he thought there were too many commercials on TV to enjoy the movie.

    His experiences have helped him see how different the world can be from what holidays are celebrated to small things such as how homes are designed and how much different it is to drive in Germany than in the U.S. Overall, Klueck said his experiences between the two counties has opened his eyes to how different the world is depending on where you are, and he plans on visiting the U.S. again in the future.

    Ryan Ellis can be reached at 217-347-7151, ext. 138, or at ryan.ellis@effinghamdailynews.com.