Yesterday was Halloween, and it was a smashing one indeed. It began dry and sunny (two big pluses during autumn here) and remained so throughout the day; Halloween night was, well, amazing.
Halloween is HUGE in the United States, and every year, more and more Dutchies and other internationals join Americans in celebrating this fun-filled holiday. Cross-culturalism at its best. May I just say that I love it?
I’ve always loved the thrill of deciding what you wanted to dress up as, putting the costume together and heading into the darkness with friends for an evening of trick-or-treating. All that and a huge candy stash at the end. What’s not to like?
As I got older, trick-or-treating morphed into attending oh so fun Halloween parties, and eventually to being the one to stay home, oohing and aahing over the little childrens’ costumes and giving out the candy.
Quite simply, it is one of my favorite holidays of the year.
Our little Ten Hovestraat and its sister street Vivienstraat were filled with the sights and sounds of costumed trick-or-treaters rushing up in feverish anticipation to ring doorbells or slam heavy iron door-knockers, sometimes both.
This year I kept it simple, dressing in black and orange, topping it off with a witch’s hat. The kids are always pleasantly surprised when you make an effort to dress up, even just a bit; one of the accompanying parents even whipped out her camera and caught me dispensing mini chocolate bars to a horde of the living dead.
Last year we had six houses on our little, one-block long street participating; chez Janssen received 96 little ghosts and goblins.
This year? Ten houses got into the festive spirit and we had 105 creatively attired witches, zombies, fairies and ghouls.
Best of all was our featured Halloweener, little Elliott. Dressed as Little Red Riding Hood, she was adorable.
How adorable? Afterwards, Daughter couldn’t stop telling Husband ‘she was so cute, she was sooo cute!’
Elliott is the 18 month old daughter of an American woman and her Dutch husband now living here in The Hague. Theirs is an expat love story as they met while both were working in Dubai; they made their way back to the Netherlands just before Elliott’s arrival.
Mom wants Elliott to have an understanding of American holidays in general, and in particular a sense of the magic of Halloween. She found last year’s Halloween post on Adventures in Expat Land, and contacted me though the blog’s Facebook page.
So the entire family, including their four-pawed furry child (a docile boxer), came to Ten Hovestraat to join in the fun. How great is that?
And yes, Catarina came by with a group of her Dutch classmates. We didn’t get a chance to talk, but underneath the zombie face paint I did get the head tilt, sweet smile and half wink, so we’re cool.
My only regret is that I didn’t have a chance to grab my camera and document some of the merriment in pictures. Oh, and how to get rid of the leftover candy…
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
For most of my adult life I’ve viewed autumn as the major period of change.
Yes it’s my favorite season, for sensory as well as emotional reasons, but it’s more than that. It seems to be part of my genetic makeup, my brain’s hard- and/or soft-wiring.
You’d think it would be springtime with its planting and blooming and growth (and perhaps it is for you), but no.
September, October, November? For me, it’s the call of the new, the fresh, the different.
I’ve put a lot of thought into this over the past few weeks, and the result is captured in my October column over at Expat Focus, Autumn Equals Change.
Guess what I realized while writing this post? Husband’s and my decisions for our past two moves, including taking the plunge into expat life here in Nederland, both took place in the fall.
Do YOU have a favorite season or time of year that seems to be your ‘changemaker’? Do share!