November 2, 2008
... now we live in Europe again. Neither my husband, nor I grew up with Halloween, as we both are Belgian. But when we moved from Belgium to California in 2002 we adopted the whole Halloween-craze fairly quickly and it soon became our family's favorite holiday.
Last year we tried really hard to have a real Halloween. We'd just moved back from California to Europe and had the real thing still fresh in our minds. A lot of stores and supermarkets carried plenty of Halloween-related stuff. Also, at school, the kids celebrated Halloween the last Friday before Fall break. The girls went to school all dressed-up and at the elementary school the kids were even welcomed by mom-witches aligned along an orange carpet leading them to the school building. They went trick-or-treating in the other classrooms and came home with quite some candy and fun stories. That was one week before Halloween, so we had high hopes for the actual Halloween-night. But gosh, what a disappointment it was! It made us miss California even more, as we were thinking of our friends going out for trick-or-treat that night - without us - the traditional Halloween parade, the decorated houses... The girls did dress up as witches and got their faces painted, only to find people looking kind of puzzled at us when we walked down the road. We had to explain to not just a few people that it was HALLOWEEN - they didn't get it! True, there was a pumpkin carving contest in the neighboring town of where we were staying for our Fall break. But we didn't make it in time as I managed to get off at the wrong tram stop with my two little witches, so we only had a tiny little pumpkin and five minutes left to decorate it. No need to tell we didn't win the contest... At night we went trick-or-treating, with the girls' twin-cousins, who we had invited for the occasion, and that too ended in a huge disappointment. Either people didn't have any candy or simply didn't open their doors, with only a few exceptions. Eventually, my husband came up with the idea of hiding at our house the candy we had bought earlier that day, so the kids could have a "Halloween-goes-Easter"-Egg-Hunt, which was, I must admit, really fun and saved the evening.
This year we prepared the girls. We wouldn't go for trick-or-treating, though they could dress-up if they wanted to and we would carve a pumpkin. But once again we thought too late of getting a pumpkin, so we ended up buying two little pumpkins. Luckily, Oma Lea, my mother-in-law, was into a little pumpkin-carving contest! And I must say, she did a wonderful job!
I added this picture of the T-shirt M. decorated and wore to school to celebrate Halloween. Nice, isn't it? I like the Verlaine-tombstone she drew... Result of the many poems she learns in school...