It was only 9am today (Nov. 1st!) and our house had zero traces of Halloween. Harvest Wreath was already hanging on our front door! Efficiency? Competitiveness against my neighbors? No, none of those things. Simply, when I dashed through my front door this morning, to take my daughter to school, I saw several scat marks on the ground…and a big piece of dog scat on my lawn. It wasn’t like a donut type scat, perfectly swirled on sitting on my lawn…It was more like a smashed and smeared scat, which many, but MANY children and parents, had unwillingly stepped on happily, in pursue of my candy cauldron, last night! Arghhhhhhhh!
So, as I was washing off scat I thought I might as well take down our Halloween decorations. I also took that time (in the freezing morning) to do some mental retrospective on my Halloween 2013…
Pumpkins: You should see some of my neighbours carvings! Gosh! What is that?! Highly skillful. Did they do it themselves or is there a pumpkin carving place I am not aware of? Seriously? Myself? Oh, I thought I could pretty much do this carving thing since I looked around in my court and everyone did theirs so well…Then, I went out to buy a couple of pumpkins (on Halloween morning…) but our local supermarket had ran out of pumpkins! No way! How so? Okay, I thought; Americans do like carving, I see. Well, I had 3 little weird pumpkins at home, and decided to have a go with those. A couple of knives, at my garden table, with my toddler. This is pretty much how far I got:
Seeing I clearly had no carving skills (I do think my pumpkins were ‘faulty’ as they were so incredibly hard, I could not ever pierce a knife through them lol), I decided to be creative and dressed up my 3 little pumpkins with wigs and masks. Done!
Family: Truth is, my kids, so far, have had no ‘family pumpkin carving experience’ in America. We are not good at it. My husband, who has been preparing for his talks, probably felt like: shall I prepare for my talks or shall I carve pumpkins? Umm… Prepare for talks…carve pumpkins…Prepare for talks! Yeah..I guess this is pretty much what went through his “male mind.” Whereas, I felt like: ‘Gosh! He couldn’t even hang the silly witch on the outside wall!? The cauldron is ready, it is nearly time for trick or treat… Husband is still at work…witch is not on the wall…Dangit! Witch goes inside the freaking cauldron. I’m done. There goes the poor witch, which was, supposed to be ‘cooking’ in front of the cauldron… What a tragic end…Epic fail!
Friends: I have these neighbours (and good friends, too), living accross from my house, and he is a pastor. You guys can see his carvings in the picture above! Unbelievable! I felt really tempted to ask them to include ‘us‘ in their family carving moment… 😉 But, I guess I got a little shy besides, I did think, at the time, that I could totally manage the carving thing. Obviously, not! Dear neighbours: next Halloween you will have 4 or 5 more in your backyard; carving along 🙂
Internationals: Me, handing out candies and saying: ‘One each, please!’ – then, several little hands, forever buried in the pile of candies…when I saw they were done picking, I said: ‘Off you go, off you go!’ lol When I meant: ‘There you go! – seeing that a little girl had finally decided what piece of candy to choose! But, my words did not come out right.At a glance, I could see their parents standing at the edge of my lawn…and they were probably thinking: ‘Witch!’ (I really did not mean ‘off you go, get off my lawn!’ But, it did sound like that! Silly foreigner lol).
Kids! My son started his morning with a slight fever. When it was time to dress up for Halloween, he was alright but, did not want to get any close to costumes. Well, okay with me, he is only two. Nonetheless…by seeing all the excitement, the bell ringing, the kids at the door; he makes a move.
We end up our Halloween night with a lovely walk around my fun neighborhood, getting some candy inside my little guy’s Garfield costume (it has and ample pocket at the height of Garfield’s tummy, really handy) and guess what? We met daddy around the corner and we could still go trick or treating a little bit, with him 😉
In one way or another, families manage. Local or internationals, we are all ‘families’. It is not the candy, it is not the scary masks, it is not the money on costumes…(this years I spent $3, my neighbour handed me down a few costumes for boys; very kind!) it is the tradition (yes, the family carving ;)) the little things, the friendly boo-bags, and the good will of parents who open their doors to our kids with a big smile on their faces…which count, for me, on this so crazily popular American Holiday.
The tip: Next Halloween, be sure to check out every kid around you has a friend to go trick or treat with. Remember the ones who recently moved in…or maybe the one who is not so mobile, or even the one who is perhaps just shy, but dying to go out there, too. Use your compassion not your money. Be a facilitator and help kids interact; show some spirit! 🙂 And, maybe a…toothbrush, too!
These are the things I pick up along the way by living abroad…and like to share with you, as I go on…