MUNICH, GERMANY. If you don’t have any candy, perhaps you would consider giving us some coins?” I insinuated, still feeling slightly awkward, my witch’s smile twisting upwards.

For the citizens of my hometown, it was just another evening in late October back in the late 1990s. For me, it was my first Halloween.

My American classmates had told me all about the trick-or-treating tradition. Eager to try it ourselves, my German friends and I ravaged our closets for the Hexenköstume weh ad touted for Fashing, Germany’s equivalent of Carnival. But just as this witch attire wasn’t originally destined for trick-or-treating, our community had no idea about Halloween.

Neighbors’ doors gave way to puzzled faces; there were no carved pumpkins and no candy to collect. But we continued our mission, educating our fellow inhabitants about All Hallow’s Evening. Admiring our jack-o’-lantern, an elegant businessman was the first to hand over a couple of coins instead.

In just under two hours, we returned home, our pockets full of clinking coins. A fortune for ten-year-olds like me.

When I told my American classmates the next day, they glanced down at their Reese’s Pieces and Jolly Ranchers, a mixture of surprise and jealousy gleaming in their eyes.

To me, however, the cash had become less important. As we trekked from door to door, I started feeling special. Good or bad, I was the bringer of news, confronting my community with a custom that was yet unknown to them. Education about novel rituals was the currency I was trading. A mere child, I was the personification of globalization. With my smoky eyes and tilted hat, I was turning a time-old tradition from one country into a new trend on the other side of the pond.

In the wide-ranging literature about globalization, large multinational companies are usually blamed for such transformations. But we should be aware that individual people, including ourselves, are spreading globalization.

Fifteen years later, Halloween parties are getting popular in Europe. Metaphorically speaking, I know I was one of the first to put up the scary posters. Will parents here, too, start to worry about poisoned candy? Had I enlightened or marred my community?

I wonder, if I ever have children, which foreign customs will they spread? Do we need to fear that a time will come when no one will be able to sense the unique feeling I had that evening? A day when foreign customs become so blurred with tradition that you can’t tell the difference?

As for me, I decided to spend my half of the Halloween coins on Elly Seidl pralines. “München, seit 1918,” the wrapper announced: Munich, since 1918. In the end, Halloween had a sweet aftertaste for me, too. The local chocolates melting in my mouth, I thought, you can’t get these in America. Yet.