Monday, November 01, 2010

Halloween, UAE style

Yesterday was the first time I've been overseas for Halloween since having kids. And I think we had pretty much the best possible setup here, as far as Trick-or-Treating and general Halloween frivolity goes. We live in a semi-Western "neighborhood" where the homes are close enough to walk to, vehicle traffic is light, and there are tons of little kids around. The university sent out an email flyer explaining the concept of Halloween (in both English and Arabic) to all residents, and also gave us a sign to put on our door if we wanted trick-or-treaters to come (we did).

Costumes were a breeze since both girls wanted to be princess/fairies and we already had some old dress-ups lying around. So no scouring the aisles of some obscure 5-dirham store (dollar-ish store) in Ajman looking for costume accessories. Phew. I am not one of those really creative costume people so this was a huge relief.

We really wanted to get a pumpkin, though, and I was concerned that we wouldn't be able to find one. I had heard that Spinney's had some but first we checked Carrefour because it's closer. I was at once excited and crestfallen because while they did have pumpkins, they were very expensive. About $3.75/pound expensive. As in, Jeremy priced a medium-sized pumpkin with the produce weighers and it came to almost $30. So, no genuine pumpkin for us. We got one of those Indian ones instead, for about $3.50 total.

Buying Halloween candy was another challenge. You can't just pick up a huge bag of fun-size candy bars at Costco, obviously. Our whole family spent about 15 minutes in the candy aisle at Carrefour on Saturday trying to convert metric sizes and dirham prices and Turkish/German/Arab/French brands into something even remotely recognizable. We ended up with a big bag of Laffy Taffy-ish things and then some mini packs of Haribo gummy bears and colas.

The Indian pumpkin was the extent of our decorating, but some people went all out. This was one of the more decked out houses I saw on campus:

Trick-or-treating was just as fun as it's ever been, even if some of the treats were a bit off. The girls came home with plenty of mystery candy (like braided marshmallow ropes and those terrible choking death hazard jelly capsules) but there were a few treasures mixed in there, like Bounty bars, that were confiscated immediately. Mmmm, Bounty.

When we moved here, I was worried that my kids would have to miss out on some American traditions. Halloween came specifically to mind. It's not that Halloween is the most important holiday to me, but it's one I really loved as a kid. Just because we live overseas doesn't mean we can't enjoy some of our native culture once in a while. I'm so glad Halloween in the UAE ended up being fantastic. The best part about Halloween in the UAE this year was that since Sunday is a regular workday, we didn't have to feel conflicted about going out to Trick-or-Treat on the (American) Sabbath. 2014 with its Friday Halloween presents more of a problem, but we'll worry about that when we come to it.


Susanne said...

I actually thought about you yesterday and was >>>this close<<< to asking on Facebook if you were able to celebrate Halloween. Then I thought maybe you'd post about it so I'd be patient and - tada! - here is the information I'd wondered about! Really glad to read about Halloween in the UAE. Cute picture of your smiling princess! Enjoy those Bounty bars. :)

JuliaKoponick said...

Next year you can be super-cool if you plan ahead and have someone go to Costco, get the candy bag and ship it in a one-rate USPS box. lol

Merkley Jiating said...

It seems like it was a very fun day! I am impressed that you were able to find so many ways to celebrate even though you weren't here!

I noticed you always blog when it is really late at night for me so I looked up the time difference. You blog early in the morning!

Bridget said...

Bounty bars: enjoyed.

Julia, I'm way ahead of you. I am making a Costco list for next time we go to the US and bulk candy is on it.

Emily, we are in a crazy different time zone. When DST comes we will be a full 12 hours off of my parents' time zone.

Kristen said...

I like that you feel it is important to preserve your American culture/traditions.


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