Saturday, October 30, 2010

Happy Halloween

Happy Halloween everyone.

It’s been years since I’ve really gotten into Halloween since leaving the US, but its still out there and the world participates. My husband loved Halloween in the US and the first year we were in Turkey insisted to throw a party. Much to my surprise people got into it and dressed up. Maybe because my parents were never that into it as I was growing up, I never became a huge fan. As I got older, year after year I would just recycle the same costume out of conveniencey. (It was this kind of fighter pilot thing I found in high school – kept using it when necessary until about 7 or 8 years ago.) But now that I have a child, I want to make sure he enjoys his childhood to the fullest, so I am trying to get into it more.

Several places here have parties as a result of the Western influence, so for many, Halloween is definitely big in Dubai. When Erin was one year old I took him to a Baby Loves Disco Halloween party. He was a cute little dinosaur-dragon type thing – so cute he won first place for his costume. I almost felt bad. I mean yes, my boy is cute, but for sure I am biased. And come on, every mom thinks their kid is cute! And honestly, they all were cute. Any child in there could have easily won.

There were so many moms there who you could tell put so much effort into their kids costumes and were so into it all. Pathetically, I just opened a bag and put on the heavy fleece of a green pajama looking thing with scales! And honestly, I can’t even recall if that was a hand-me-down from a friend or not. Being the strung out working mom, I found it kind of ironic for lack of a better word. While we were appreciative of our prize, the event wasn’t that organized for what they charged, so I vowed never again on the Baby Disco party.

Year two, a few months before Halloween, my son was diagnosed with juvenile diabetes. We were in the US for most of the month of October for medical care, so we were not very festive. And while everything in moderation is okay now that I know what I am doing with this condition, a holiday that used to celebrate the dead that now worships sugar, was probably not a good idea at the time. The irony of that year was hiding in the kitchen for my occasional candy corn fix – something I am still guilty of again this year, and probably will be for years to come. I wonder when I will get busted. Or will they just let me go on, and it become the family joke. “There goes mom again….”

This year my son was sick and missed his party at school, so in lieu of that we made Halloween cookies, carved a pumpkin, decorated his door with spider webs and plastic spiders (and not the mention the label from the packaging that he insisted was a key piece of the ensemble). However, he is only three, so it wasn’t a huge disappointment for him. I love that about young children – they are always happy because they are always in the moment. They don’t worry much, if at all, about the past and don’t have a grasp on the concept of the future yet, so life is great.

We did get a few trick-or-treaters this year. Every year, no matter how prepared I am, I always forget what day they are coming. Tonight, like every year, kids knocked on my door and surprised me. And since this was my son’s first experience with the concept, he was equally dumbfounded with the vampire and superman at our door. They must think their costumes are really good at scaring me, because seriously, I am always unprepared and surprised.

My first year in Istanbul, I really didn’t expect it. I even forgot what day it was. I had no candy in the house at all. Some kids came to my door thinking for sure I would have candy. After all, I am American and should be dressed up and ready to go with a huge bowl of candy, right? Wrong. I was completely thrown off and did not know what to do. I closed the door and scavenged around the house for something, but what… I had nothing. I didn’t want to turn them away empty handed, so in a panic I gave them money! Yes, my American friends remember when you were a kid and there was always someone who would give small rolls of pennies? Well, I became that lady?!!! How could that be?! Even though I didn’t grow up in an over the top Halloween household I knew enough to know that the lady who gave out money for Halloween was crazy! I remember kids comparing notes on the street about who was giving what and many wouldn’t even bother to go to her house.

Yes, I hung my head low that year. The next year I made up for it and brought sexy back to the candy bowl. I felt so guilty about the previous year I gave out three times the treats. Don’t know if it increased my cool factor – not that I have one – but I slept well that night.

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