Halloween as an Expat or Traveler

Holidays are full of traditions. And if you are like I used to be those traditions dictate the ebb and flow of your year.  Being from New England we got very comfortable in the way we celebrated different holidays in accordance with seasonal changes.  Halloween was a huge holiday that helped us to flow from summer to fall to winter.  We miss Halloween!

When we moved to Costa Rica 7 years ago there was no celebrating at all, in fact the local kids loved coming over and asking us all kinds of questions about it.  As the US influence grew so did the Halloween presence, but it was never the same.  In the beginning I had a really hard time with these changes but over time I found it as a way to get our creativity flowing and explore the ways others do things.

We left Costa Rica for a more nomadic lifestyle and celebrating Halloween became an even bigger challenge.  Some years we just skip the whole darn thing but other years we get creative and make it our own.  Here are a few tips for celebrating while outside of your normal element.

Halloween when away from "home"
  • If pumpkins are hard to come by either due to climate or lack of celebrating the holiday get watermelons instead.  They are easier to carve, look cool, and are usually far less expensive anyway!
  • If you are an expat gather friends and make a party of your own.  When we were stationary in Costa Rica we all got together and made a fun party for the kids during the day and then had an even more fun adult party at night.
  • You do not need to be in a country that celebrates the holiday to do bobbing for apples, or biting the doughnut on the string.  Even if it is just you and the kids grab some supplies and have fun as a family.
  •  Do something quirky and fun to set a new tradition for the day.  I have some friends who are plotting their night dives and pondering what types of costumes could fit over their scuba gear.  How fun!
  • Do some simple crafts and decorate the area.  Make paper pumpkins, spiders, webs, creepy cats, etc.
  • If you have an apartment or way to cook get creative with some cool Halloween treats.  We like to cook up just about everything pumpkin.  If you go to Allrecipes you can find loads of creative and spooky culinary treats.
  • Create a family scavenger hunt or better yet have someone else do it so you can all participate.
  • Dress up anyway, dance aroud the house and just have fun with it!  See who can come up with the scariest or most funny costume.
  • If your kids are older put together a list of scary movies, download them, and spend the evening trying not to jump out of your seat.

The bottom line is that no matter where you are you can make new traditions and celebrate in your own way.  It is hard sometimes to let go of the standard fare of trick or treating and visiting the grandparents for the big candy score but we have found that making new traditions and exploring the way locals celebrate can oftentimes be educational and even more fun than the traditional way of doing things.

So what are your Halloween plans this year?  Where in the world are you and what unique things are you doing to celebrate?

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