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|
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|
|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!|
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!|