Thursday, November 1, 2012

Looking Back: Halloween 2011

Happy Halloween!

Jon and I had heard that Russians did not celebrate Halloween. So as we prepared to move here, we sold all of our nice Halloween costumes at our yard sale and gave away most of our dress-ups. We only packed and brought with us a VERY select few of the children’s favorite dress-ups that wouldn’t take much packing space.

We had been informed fairly correctly about Halloween -- Russians didn’t celebrate it the way we did. They don’t sell costumes at the store and there isn’t an entire grocery aisle devoted to Halloween candy. However, some Russians are starting to have an interest in the holiday and will have Halloween parties, though it’s not very common.

We were caught off guard last year when our friends the Flake’s, who live at the U.S. Embassy, invited us to the embassy for trick-or-treating. We were thrilled that we wouldn’t have to skip this fun, nostalgic holiday that we grew up with, but we were not prepared with Halloween costumes for the children. All we could do was throw together “costumes” for the children with the few dress-ups we had.

Kate had her pointy princess hat that we had purchased from the Sterling Renaissance Festival in New York. She wore that with a Sunday dress, and at the last minute she decided to grab a generic, yellow pencil to be her wand.

James, our little knight lover, had his beloved tunic (made by Aunt Tiffany) and his silk crown. He was really missing his plastic helmet, body armor and shield, but this would do.

Bruce was especially tricky to find a costume for. We really didn’t have anything else except for a pirate patch. All we could do was grab a red bandanna and wrap it around his little head to make him a pirate.

William’s coat had bear ears on the hood, so we figured he could be a bear. However, the Flake’s had an extra costume that they said William could wear. He was the only one dressed in an authentic Halloween costume.

The children’s costumes were not too far from pathetic. We felt embarrassed that we didn’t have anything better and we hoped that we wouldn’t get kicked out of the embassy trick-or-treating because of our lameness. Thankfully, we didn’t. ;)

Jon and I and the children had a wonderful time at the U.S. Embassy! The Flake’s had made real American food for dinner that evening. It had been about two months since we had had any taste of familiar, comfort food. All are meals up till then were strictly Russian because we hadn’t figured out how to get the ingredients we needed to make recipes we had done in America. Melissa sent us home that night with some cumin and chili powder and it was honestly the most generous, wonderful gift! We had really been missing those spices, among many others we couldn’t find yet.

Unfortunately, when we went through security at the gate of the embassy, we had to leave our camera and cell phones behind. I was sad to not have a camera with me on a night like that, but Levin and Melissa said that they would send us some of the pictures they took.

The children had a great time trick-or-treating and all of us enjoyed eating American candy. You can get some popular candy here in Moscow, like Twix, Reese’s cups, Snickers, Kit-Kats, Skittles, etc., but we had not bought any since arriving in Russia, so it was fun to eat those again AND many other candies that we could not get here. Levin and Melissa were so nice to let us pilfer their little one-year-old boy’s candy bag and keep the candies that James wasn’t allergic to. If I remember right, I think we did trade and give back stuff that James couldn’t have.

Being at the U.S. Embassy was like having a mini trip back to home in the United States. It was wonderful, it was comforting, but it also made us a little home sick. It was definitely worth the homesickness, though, and it was a lot of fun to spend time with our friends, the Flake’s! They are fantastic friends!


  1. Speaking of this incredibly small world... Levin Flake's older brother Lincoln is a friend of mine. I had no idea his brother is in Moscow! I am glad you had a great time last Halloween! Any plans for this year's one?

  2. But what was Jon's costume? At least make him dress up ad-hoc and post some pictures. Thank you

  3. Um, how can I not be touched that you carted the knight tunic half way across the world? :) Someday I hope your cobbled together Halloween is a great memory. Some of my favorite times (in retrospect) are when Jake and I have cobbled....