Halloween is not my favorite holiday, not by a long shot. It is not widely celebrated in Luxembourg, nor in many other parts of Europe. As far as I'm concerned, I wouldn't be devastated if it disappeared from our lives altogether, left behind with the move. Along with the election season madness we've largely avoided this time around, I count us lucky to be missing out on an American Halloween this year.
I did feel compelled to uphold some U.S. Halloween traditions for the sake of continuity for the kids. Namely, we had the opportunity to go Trick-Or-Treating with the American Women's Club of Luxembourg, so I signed us up. I figured we'd give this year a modest effort, and perhaps taper off our participation in Halloween-related festivities in subsequent years.
Many Luxembourg stores do carry a few Halloween decorations and costumes. Unfortunately, most costumes are of the scary/demonic/bloody variety. It's rare to see a princess, fireman, Disney character, superhero. And I was in no mood to "craft."
I opted to spend 6 Euros on some sheer white fabric, reprising James' ghost from last year, with an added ghost sister.
Simply being in this neighborhood was surreal in itself. Walking amongst the large, very new-looking detached homes and hearing English everywhere around us left us wondering if we'd mistakenly hopped on a plane back to a wealthy Portland suburb, or whether a neighborhood like this would even exist here if droves of Americans hadn't been showing up to work and live in Luxembourg in recent years.
Sure enough, 2 or 3 dozen homes handed out mostly American-brand fun-sized candy from their doorsteps. (FYI - Pete and my favorite candy bars - Kit-Kat and Reeses Peanut Butter Cups, respectively - now taste suspiciously like cardboard after a steady diet of Belgian chocolate for the last 5 months.)
|some candy distributers went the extra mile|
A couple people even set out their own Trick-or-Treating stations on card-tables, creating more candy-collecting ops for the kids.
|bonus trick-or-treat kiosk|
|another bonus spot. and a couple of cows.|
Well, fast-forward: It is Halloween night as I write this post. We attended a Halloween party at the local Pizza Hut this afternoon, organized again by the AWCL. No trick-or-treaters have come by our place tonight. The kids each picked out a pumpkin at the grocery store awhile back, but we decided not to carve them since they'd begun to rot (even pumpkins go bad quickly here!). There was a pumpkin festival in a nearby town back in September; that probably would have been the closest thing to a pumpkin patch experience here. The kids have been out of school all week for mid-term break - no school Halloween parties or costume parades. We didn't dress up to visit the retirement home and hand out cards with the MOMS Club. I think that's the part I really did miss - we've done that since James was a baby. Tomorrow, All Saints Day, is a national holiday and everyone has the day off.
So yeah, Halloween feels weird this year. But then again, I always feel a bit weird on Halloween. It's just a different sort of weird this year, I suppose.
Next-up: Thanksgiving. Even less Luxembougish!