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  • Scary Stuff for Italian Halloween in 2011
    No haunted houses are necessary this year in Italy. Discover why real life might be enough to frighten the Boot come the end of October
    Our Paesani

    by Francesca Di Meglio

    Only recently — in the last few years or so — has Halloween become somewhat of a holiday in Italy. Generally, Italians dress up in costume for Carnevale, known as Fat Tuesday or Mardi Gras, play tricks on each other for April Fool's Day, and indulge in chocolate candy on Valentine's Day and Easter. And the fear factor of Halloween never seemed to play a role in Italian holidays, unless you count La Befana, the witch who brings gifts to children for Little Christmas on Jan. 6.

    In 2011, however, there doesn't seem to be a need for witches and ghouls to get people in the spirit of Halloween, a holiday that is meant to inspire fear. Anyone in Italy who wants to celebrate will have plenty to dread. After all, there's a lot of scary stuff going on in the homeland right now. Here are some of the more frightful headlines that will be keeping the Italians on edge this Halloween:

    Fiscal Fright
    Italy can take credit for being a major contributor to Europe's ever-bigger headache. Too much of la dolce vita (the sweet life) has left the country's economic growth on a respirator. With too many benefits for workers and not enough people being productive, the home of the Renaissance has become lackluster and lax. Nearing financial disaster, Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi came up with an austerity plan that had people going on strike and throwing mussels in protest. Yes, mussels. Don't ask. If shellfish being pelted at you isn't scary, I don't know what is? Frankly, financial ruin is a recurring nightmare of mine in the United States these days, too.

    "Bunga Bunga" Boo
    "Bunga bunga" parties are a reference to the events that the 74-year-old Berlusconi hosted in which young women dressed in sexy nun and nurse's outfits danced around for the politician and his friends, including Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi, who once was a close friend to Berlusconi. In fact, news of these parties came out as a result of accusations that Berlusconi had sex with an underage prostitute who attended such feasts. The thought of Berlusconi, Gadhafi, and their cronies prancing about with women dressed like porno nurses is a little too freaky even for Halloween. Frightful!

    Soccer Strike
    The Serie A soccer strike recently ended, which allowed the season to begin just a few weeks later than originally intended. But just the thought of going any longer without our favorite soccer stars and their extraordinary talents was enough to scare the bejeezus out of fans. No one in Italy wants to live without soccer, except for maybe the Sunday soccer widows. Then again, those ladies can be scary themselves.

    Italian Mummies
    An Italian mamma can be downright terrifying. She'll force feed you from a wooden spoon full of pasta and sauce one day and a whip your behind with the same wooden spoon the next. If she has a son, her world revolves around him. She may never cut the umbilical cord, and she might even brag about how long he spent nursing or sleeping in her bed. That's one mummy you don't want to see on Halloween or ever, especially if you're the guy's girlfriend or wife.

    Di Meglio is the Guide to Newlyweds for at, and you can follow her life and work at the Two Worlds Web site at

    Article Published 9/14/11


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