Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Expat Halloween

Happy Halloween!

This post is dedicated to Sara Louise in Le Petit Village who woke up this morning with a bad case of the expat blues on account of the fact that she's not expecting any Trick or Treaters to come knocking at the LPV tonight. We happen to be on vacation in Sara's neck of the woods down in Provence right now so we celebrated Halloween early with all our expat friends last week, much to the bemusement of the French neighbours in our Paris suburb!

Trick or Treat 1
On the last day of school before the Tousaint break, the girls were all allowed to go to school in their costumes (even sixth grader India) for a musical parade through the corridors and a craft party in the classroom afterwards. I somehow managed to find myself responsible for Georgia & Savannah's third grade craft. After a bit of online searching for the perfect craft that could be completed by 46 third graders with minimum mess and maximum success in less than half an hour, we decided on this simple and effective idea from the craft blog Skip to my Lou. Orange, white and black tissue paper, decoupage glue and some empty jam jars are all supplies easily and cheaply found in France (unlike many of the requirements for other Halloween crafts out there in Blogland) and the pumpkin and ghost lanterns were a huge hit with the third graders. They particularly enjoyed putting into practice the art teacher's advice to apply the glue with their fingers. I was skeptical but it actually works much better than paintbrushes and is so much more fun!

As you can see, they added the perfect touch of friendly spookiness to our front porch to welcome all the trick or treaters we had that night.

Trick or Treat 2
Trick or Treat 3
The pumpkins that Florence and I picked the day before were carved into Jack O' Lanterns by Georgia and Savannah and their friends with minimum input by me. Apart from cutting off the tops, they scooped, designed and carved everything themselves. A welcome exercise in letting go on my part and an activity that kept them entertained from the moment they got home from school until it was time to go out and trick or treat.

Trick or Treat 4
The trick or treating itself was a huge success. Just like last year, we joined with our expat neighbours to hand out candy to all the girls' school friends. Kids in the USA tonight may not need a map to make sure they trick or treat at the right houses, but I doubt they will collect much more candy than our kids did! There were ghosts, cowboys, vampires, Disney princesses and ballerinas swarming the streets as if it was a regular American suburb creating such a fun and friendly atmosphere that we all quickly forgot that we were out begging for candy a week early! I am sure our French neighbours think we have lost the plot but it was worth it to re-create our favourite American Holiday here in France.

Trick or Treat 5
Back home for the traditional candy count. Watching the kids absorbed in this activity is my favourite part of every Halloween night.

Trick or Treat 6
A traditional Franco-American candy haul.

Trick or Treat 7
I love celebrating Halloween with my girls. I didn't grow up trick or treating in Britain so I have no pre-conceived ideas of how it should go, unlike Christmas or birthdays, leaving the girls free to create their own traditions. At it's best in the States it's simple and fun and rarely frightening when little ones are involved. After eleven years my girls are yet to choose to wear a spooky costume. This year, Georgia & Savannah were '80s Girls' circa 1984, India was an 'ironic' Disney Princess and Florence was a little artist. More on the costumes tomorrow...


  1. We don't do Halloween in Australia either - so I'm like you. However the kids are fascinated with it all and would go Trick or Treating in a heartbeat, if I thought the locals would have a clue what was going on!
    Looking forward to seeing the costumes!
    (P.S. Sorry about this rain, hope you guys are having fun)

  2. Love it!! My girls were very bummed last year when we arrived only a week before Halloween and it came and went without any hoopla....So this year - we have taken full advantage of Halloween parties and opportunities to celebrate this holiday. Sorry to say, no trick or treating here either...but who knows maybe one day...many more Halloween displays and decorations in stores this year. Kids say some of their friends trick or treat...but I think it's just among friends. Happy Halloween and enjoy your vacation! We are off to the Loire Valley on Saturday.

  3. Looking at the counting, they sure did have full bags. (at least enough sugar to keep them active) and I see some American candies in there too.


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