Happy Halloween!

October 31, 2012

By Gabrielle.

How strange. We feel like we are skipping Halloween this year. : (

Partly, it’s due to having our minds elsewhere as we gasp at hurricane aftermath and worry for our friends. Partly it’s because France doesn’t really celebrate this holiday.

Last year, we had our own festivities at home and it was fantastic. There was a costume challenge, pumpkin cookies, movie watching, a candle installation, and chili (of course!). I posted photos from last year’s celebration here, if you’d like to see.

Because it was our first October out of the country, I think it was hard for our kids to comprehend that there really isn’t Halloween in France, so we went all out at home to compensate. But this year, the kids are more adjusted to the idea, and I think our celebrations will be low-key. I’m imagining some baking and movie watching, but mostly hanging out. Maybe I’ll show the kids this super-cool 100 Cats poster and see if they want to make their own.

I’m sure some of you are literally skipping Halloween as well — I know that many parts of the East Coast have cancelled festivities for this evening. To those of you who are able take your kids out trick-or-treating, please enjoy it for the both of us! We’ll plan on joining you enthusiastically next year.

Tell me, Friends: What is Halloween like for you this year?

P.S. — To all you parents who can’t stand dressing up, here’s a little video I made just for you.

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{ 25 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Lori H October 31, 2012 at 7:31 am

With my daughter in college, our son a senior in high school, and a weekday Halloween, I anticipate a low-key holiday…pumpkin carving, our traditional fondue dinner and handing out candy to a few littles.


2 Design Mom October 31, 2012 at 8:49 am

Fondue is so perfect for a Halloween meal. Fondue always feels a bit like playing with your food.


3 Lily October 31, 2012 at 7:43 am

Well, I was thinking about some baking too but I just removed my wisdom teeth so I don’t think it’s a good idea for now! Here in Brazil we don’t celebrate this holiday – just like France – but in my home we always try to remember it: movies (not too s-s-scary!), some candies, cookies and pumpkins. I think it’s a happy holiday, to be in family having a good time!


4 Design Mom October 31, 2012 at 8:50 am

I’m with you on the not-too-scary movies!


5 Anna October 31, 2012 at 8:06 am

Our Halloween trick-or-treating has been cancelled due to power outage and trees down from the hurricane! They are rescheduling it for Saturday night but I’m not sure how that will be? After the fact is never exactly the same!


6 Design Mom October 31, 2012 at 8:50 am

I know what you mean. Re-scheduled holidays never feel quite right. Even when I postpone celebrating my anniversary it feels off.


7 Linda October 31, 2012 at 8:16 am

Gabrielle, a big thank you for your wonderful ideas for those of us who don’t like to dress up! My son adores halloween and was crestfallen recently when I confessed to him that I hate dressing up. So he was surprised and more than delighted this morning when he saw me leaving for work with bugs in my hair and on my sweater. A great child-pleasing compromise – thanks.


8 Design Mom October 31, 2012 at 8:51 am

Yay! I’m so glad you tried it, Linda. I’ll bet your 3 year old was wide-eyed and amazed to see those bugs!


9 Ann October 31, 2012 at 8:26 am

We have rain in michigan and is to rain all night. I’m hoping the kids can take umbrella’s if its not too windy to trick or treat. I’m doing chili too. We always have Gramma and Grampa come over because their neighborhood is older and they don’t have trick or treaters. They will help me hand out candy and help the boys sort through the loot. I told them if its too bad outside we can have a party inside and watch a scary movie with popcorn. Popcorn always puts kids in a good mood doesn’t it? I would like to see the costumes your children came up with. They are all so creative like you!


10 Design Mom October 31, 2012 at 8:52 am

Agreed about the popcorn. Popcorn = party.

Here’s a link to the costumes my kids created during last year’s challenge. Fun stuff!


11 Jackie October 31, 2012 at 9:12 am

I love your idea video. My husband hates to dress up and it always seems to be a struggle to come up with something he’d be comfortable doing but your ideas are perfect. I’ll be sure to share it with him. Thanks!


12 Emily C October 31, 2012 at 10:48 am

I am taking out our 2.5 year old to a small local shopping strip to “trick or treat”. Our area of Oakland is not super safe at night nor do families really stay home and host trick or treaters (which I can’t believe! I grew up in Oregon and loved meeting my neighbors and trick or treating with my parents). So it’s a nice way to stay local, safe, and do something early (4-6pm) that the little ones can enjoy.


13 Emily C October 31, 2012 at 10:49 am

Oh, and by the way, I watched the video and will definitely do stitches or Groucho Marx glasses as I’m definitely “costume adverse” but I feel like a grouch.


14 A French Education October 31, 2012 at 11:02 am

Speaking of Halloween in France, here is a bit of its history, if I may take the liberty of posting a link to my own blog … !

Plus a little bit of seasonal vocabulary to boot!



15 Misty October 31, 2012 at 11:59 am

When we lived abroad, I asked my mother-in-law what to do for Halloween since she also had had kids in another country when they were young. She said that the kids would dress up and take treats TO neighbors. That way the kids got to have costumes and still see the neighbors. We did that and some of the Americans in our apartment building actually had treats for our daughter. Just a thought.


16 Chellae October 31, 2012 at 1:16 pm

As New Yorkers, we feel incredibly fortunate that everything is still go for tonight. Ironically we are getting more rain today than we did on Monday or Tuesday. However, when I asked my oldest if he’d rather stay home and have a party if it was raining too hard, he said a party at home was a great idea. We borrowed the mummy costume idea from one of your years past Halloween posts and I gave myself second degree burns frantically finishing it up with hot glue for school festivities today.


17 Jodi October 31, 2012 at 3:37 pm

This is the second year in a row that those of us in northern New Jersey have had to skip Halloween. I am not even sure that my 4 year old remembers it! We still put on costumes and play with friends, but I miss the magic of a fresh, cold, dark night, walking door-to-door with your friends. That’s the part, even more than the candy, that my older kids miss!


18 Tasha October 31, 2012 at 3:45 pm

As a NYer I feel the same:( But I just did an awesome job decorating just for us in about 10 minutes. (Days home from work having power allowed me to get the house shined up.) So, we are ordering good Italian and having a small dinner together; my hub, son and his girlfriend. My aunt recently passed, my mom has a breast biopsy and then the weather hit…I needed something to “celebrate,” so Halloween is a good enough excuse. Enjoy everyone ♥


19 Stephanie October 31, 2012 at 4:10 pm

We live in the UK. When the kids were young Halloween was not celebrated here. We used to dress up and the kids would trick or treat at every door in the house. My husband and I would run to keep ahead of them. Now there is more celebrating going on here in London but our kids are older and were happy to just pass out candy to the cute little creatures that came to our door. We do miss celebrating Thanksgiving on Thursday though. The kids obviously don’t have Thanksgiving off so we celebrate it the Saturday after. Feels slightly different:)


20 Dee October 31, 2012 at 8:01 pm

It was very quiet this year, but nice. We always go with neighbors and one house known as “the chili house” always gives kiddos the option of a bag of treats or a cup of warm chili. They always choose the chili. :)


21 G at willowday November 1, 2012 at 1:34 am

Living in Sweden, I understand this completely. Sweden recognizes “All Saints Day” this coming weekend, not Halloween (exactly…) Swedish All Saints Day is a reverent holiday and I feel that Swedes are mixed with this deep, holiday of remembrance set against the “American holiday of Halloween.”

My observation, in Sweden/maybe Europe, is that our generation have learned about Halloween from all of the horror films in the 80′s and 80′s so Halloween which makes Halloween more “fright feast” than “Maskerade.” (Case in point, yesterday, we were at our friend’s Halloween party and a mother of a little Swedish 3 year old was apologetic for the fact that her daughter wanted to “just be a princess…not a Frankenstein Princess, etc…)

With a little troupe of American friends, who have like aged children, we’ve always created a “Halloween” for the kids since they were born — this literally has meant planning a route of people who would agree to kindly answer their doors and hand the children candy on a given date and time. (I’ve actually offered to provide candy for neighbors in order to make it as easy as possible and have extended our Halloween circuits by using the front door, as one station… and a back door, for example, as another Trick or Treat Station.”)

(French note: two years ago, I took part in a friend’s “circuit” and asked a favorite French teacher, who lived within this neighborhood, if she’d be home and if we could trick or treat by her house. 35 hasty trick or treaters descended upon her and arrived at a house FULL of handmade treats, handmade spooky sandwich (baguette) bars and champagne!! …. this stylish, stylish stop was just a blip on the tour for kids and parents not used to this; for her, it was her first Trick or Treating experience… it was a cultural SHOCK for both sides, I am positive.

Living abroad with children, really holds a magnifying glass to oneself. So interesting to see suddenly which traditions one wants to keep, which ones haven’t traveled the way you understood them, yourself, etc — and how to creatively bring it all together.

… from the north: Happy Halloween wishes to you all! Boo!


22 Jennifer November 1, 2012 at 6:06 am

As an expat in Indonesia, we were a bit sad to learn that Halloween is not widely celebrated here. There is also not a pumpkin in site (except for one hotel who catered to expats). We did manage to buy some chocolates and taught the neighborhood kids how to knock on our door and say “Trick or Treat!” which scratched the itch :)


23 eLIZabeth Floyd November 1, 2012 at 9:54 am

LOVE the cat poster!

And Happy Halloween to you and yours! Liz


24 Karyl November 1, 2012 at 10:03 am

We temporarily live in the Caribbean and it was neat, some of us Americans in our neighborhood had trick or treat for our kids last night. It was fun to get all dressed up and knock on doors. Some of us decorated our doors with homemade trashbag & orange juice gallon ghosts, as well as hanging cardboard bats. So fun! (BTW, we still have no cable and internet from Hurricane Sandy though– a week later) Our thoughts go out to those in the Northeast. :-(

We also happened to be at the Cayman Islands this past Saturday evening, and the shop owners at Caymana Bay, (a posh outdoor mall area) had trick or treats for kids, as well as cool decorations and a little concert. The kids had a blast running around the jumping water fountains/play structures afterwards…..

Nice to make do with what we have, and still try to keep some American traditions for our kids no matter where we are. Now have to hit Pinterest for cool kid friendly decoration ideas for Thanksgiving……..A little sad, I don’t think I can even find whole pumpkins or gourds here. Have to hunt…….


25 NOLALeBlanc November 1, 2012 at 9:59 pm

We are spending our fourth year in a row trick or treating in our neighborhood. It’s special for us because our neighborhood was completely flooded and ruined by Hurricane Katrina seven years ago. The trick or treating is still slow, but it’s making a comeback. The number of kids trick or treating each year is definitely a good way to measure the neighborhood’s recovery as a whole.


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