Monday, November 12, 2012

African Halloween Party

Sorry it's been so long since we've posted!  We have about 5 blogs we're trying to finish up, so stay tuned!!!

We've been asked several times what we miss about living in the United States.  Well, one of those things is Halloween.  Like most Americans, I always enjoyed Halloween, but it wasn't until I married Diana (who LOVES Halloween), that I really started having fun with the holiday.  Since marrying Diana, she and I have thrown a couple Halloween parties and had a lot of fun doing so.  So, before moving to Nigeria, we decided we would make a concerted effort to bring what we would need to continue our U.S. holiday traditions and make them really special for the kids - especially Halloween.  Diana and I decided it would be fun to throw a Halloween party for some of the international friends we've made here.  And we may have gone a bit over the top - but it was fun!

We decided to make it a costume party mainly for the friends of the kids, but make it compelling enough for the parents to stay.  It is common for parents to drop their children off at activities and leave, or to just send the kids with their driver.  We also wanted to get to know some of the parents, or get to know some of them better, so we decided to make the invitations unique, memorable.  In addition to the paper invitation, Diana sewed and I painted bags to look like jack-o-lanterns, and then we filled them up with candy corn, tootsie rolls, and other candy.  From the feedback we got from the parents, the kids loved the invitations and the candy so much they made their parents come! 

Our jack-o-lantern invitations
For the next few weeks, we spent the weekends and evenings planning the party, the food, and the activities.  It was fun for us, but it was also a lot of fun to see the kids get into the planning and the holiday.  The kids came to Wuse Market with us several times, helped to make tombstones and a coffin, and helped us decorate.

We set up the home so that as the families walked up to our home, they would have to pass through the graveyard in our front yard.  Upon entering the home, the families would be ushered into the spare bedroom to the side of the entryway, where we had a Halloween photo booth set up.  The families could come and get their pictures taken in their costumes.  If they didn't have a costume, or if they wanted to try on another one, we had all of our costumes, wigs, masks, and accessories set up for them to use. 

The family with our steward Immaculata
After taking a picture, the kids had several activities to choose from: a Halloween Beauty Salon and Tattoo Parlor (girls could get candy necklaces and their nails painted in Halloween colors; boys and girls could get Halloween tattoos put on); a table where they could decorate trick-or-treat bags (Diana made bags and we had fabric pens and bought jewels, beads, etc. to glue on); a table where they could ice and decorate large pumpkin cookies, and then a place where we had the classic Disney Halloween movies playing.  And, of course, we had a lot of food and drinks spread out on a large table in the front room. 
Our Jasmin getting her nails done by Raggedy Ann and a referee!

Decorating trick-or-treat bags

We found Sawyer eating the icing and candy off everyone's cookies!

Some of our guests enjoying the food
 So, for the first hour and a half, the kids and families enjoyed the various activities and socializing while eating the food.  We then started the first activity - the cupcake walk.  In our hallway we set up all the numbers on the ground and all the prizes on a small table.  I managed the music - the Monster Mash, Thriller, etc.  The kids walked around the numbers until the music stopped, at which time someone would call out a number.  The child on that number would get to pick a cupcake and a prize from the table (Halloween nail polish, pirate eye patch, etc.).  The game lasted until. . . well, until we were dying of boredom and told the remaining kids to come and grab a cupcake and pick a prize! 
The cupcake walk

Trying to destroy Frankenstein!
The next activity was the pinata.  The kids had helped me make a pinata in the shape of Frankenstein's head - we made Frankenstein smiling on one side, and angry on the other.  And, because we had invited a lot of kids and wanted them all to have a shot, we made it out of a small box so it would be more durable.  Well, durable it was!  We had over 30 kids, and after the first 10 had their go, barely a dent was made!  Given, they were the youngest kids, but even still, barely a scratch.  So, we decided to let the kids have a few whacks with the blindfold on, and then a few whacks with the blindfold off.  Even still, by the time there were only two kids left in line, Frankenstein still barely had a scratch.  During the turn of one of the last girls, the pinata dropped on the ground and the girl asked if she could stomp on Frankenstein.  The last girl asked if I would hold the pinata so she could "do taekwondo" on it.  Still, barely a dent.  So, I ripped it open and tossed candy around.

Because we only have three homes on the compound, trick-or-treating wasn't possible.  After the candy was stuffed into their decorated bags, I came out into the family room dressed covered in a grim reaper cloak and holding a lantern and a treasure map.  I proceeded to take the kids on a treasure hunt around the compound, ending at the home-made coffin filled with candy.

We were asked by most of the families after the fact whether or not we were going to do this again next year, so we considered the party a success.  We made samosas, chicken kabobs, fruit, hot dogs, cupcakes, cake, pumpkin spice Chex mix, and Halloween white trash popcorn.  And we were fortunate enough to have a few good friends who came just to help out with the different activities.  It was a ton of work, but it looks like we've started a new Halloween tradition.
The cooks making samosas!


  1. Oh my goodness... You guys are so OVER THE TOP!!! Awesome story about what was obviously an AWESOME party! Wish we could have been there...

  2. That is AWESOME!!!! You guys are the best about throwing a party. And I can totally see you just ripping that Frankenstein open and tossing the candy. My kids would have been in heaven! How about you plan our entire next family reunion? Love you guys!

  3. So awesome! Cake Walks. Pinatas. Candy. I'm also very impressed by Sawyer's ability to find the true meaning of Halloween - FROSTING COOKIES! -Nate

  4. That's it, I'll only come visit you in Africa if I can come during Halloween! absolutely amazing.

  5. Awesome!! You guys know how to throw a party!

  6. Sad we missed this fun bash! We request a party of this magnitude if we ever live in the same location again!!!