Ellie's favorite holiday is Halloween! She talks about it constantly! She loves how "spooky"(Ellie's favorite word) it is. I had held off on telling her that Halloween wasn't a holiday that was celebrated in China, because I was not looking forward to her disappointment. Finally, I got up the courage to explain that we would not be knocking on others doors and trick-or-treating this year, but we could still find lots of other ways to celebrate. I tried convincing her, through my premeditated planning, that this was going to be an amazing halloween filled with lots of halloween activities!
We started with decorating. We had to get pretty creative, because we don't have a dollar store or target around to pick up fun little decorations and surprisingly, Walmart didn't have much. So we cut bats out of black paper and hung them all over our walls. We also made ghosts out of toilet paper and string.
Our apartment has been the "expat apartment" for about 15 years, so many things have been left behind by others. Although it has accumulated a bunch of junk (which has been frustrating for cleaning) it has also delivered! We found a witches hat, some plastic pumpkins, and a few other odds and ends to decorate with. Ellie was a huge fan of our "spooky" house and really enjoyed decorating it together. We of course carved a pumpkin, drank apple cider, and watched scary movies, but the highlight for Ellie, was probably teaching my Halloween lessons at school with me. She would come to my classroom dressed up in a costume and talk about Halloween, play games, and pass out candy. She would light up ever time she explained the magic of trick-or-treating, and my students LOVED listening to her. She loved being the teacher. She would stand on a chair in front of the class and ask questions like, "do you like candy? Do you think haunted houses are spooky?" The students responded better to her questions than they ever do to mine!
We decided to Trick-or-Treat a day early, because on Halloween night, our local amusement park was opening for free, and would be all decorated for Halloween.
For Trick or Treating, we bought lots of AMERICAN CHOCOLATE!! The layout of our apartment is a big open entry with doors surrounding the space that lead to each room, including the kitchen and living room. We have 6 doors accessible from our entryway/big opening, so Drew and I decided we would run and hide behind each door, and let the kids trick or treat around the house until we ran out of candy, and it was a hit for all of us! We didn't have to walk outside in the cold, we were finished nice and early, and we could eat our yummy chocolate and watch halloween movies.
As far as costumes go, we were pretty lame. It was actually really nice to not feel the pressure of having the "perfect costume" or having neighbors or friends with expectations. Ellie wore a pirate hat and sword that we found at a local market, and Grant took off his shirt and tied a bandana around his head, Voila! Pirates! Ellie took matters in to her own hands for makeup, and those two kids had too much fun with it!
On Halloween night, we went to our amusement park, walked around the festive grounds, and road a few rides. We didn't stay long because it was cold, but it was nice to see a celebration of Halloween from somewhere other than our own home. We really enjoyed our Halloween festivities this year. It was so nice to have a holiday that felt laid back. It seems that holidays are always so stressful, but this was anything but, and definitely a memory that will be a favorite for a long time!