The Halloween Circus
I said I felt we were returning to a circus by coming back to the USA from Sweden, and this week it was like Ralph's World Harry's Haunted Halloween Circus.
The week was a full one, with several playdates with old friends, a trip back to the library for story time and a load of books to inspire us with Halloween stories and crafts, and some beach time. We are staying where there is a great pool, so we try to swim everyday in the 82 degree water or lounge in the hot tub. Yipeeee! Our goal: Swim Everyday we are here or make up for a day by swimming twice if we miss a day. It resets us all, and wears out the kids, which crucial while on this trip when pregnant mommy is the only parent on duty. Even if the grandparents are very helpful.
The Halloween Circus began for the weekend. Friday night, we headed to a local community center to a Halloween party sponsored by the county parks department, with crafts, games, and lots of kids. It was held at a park that was a favorite of ours, and my girl remembered going there for Halloween previously and doing bean bag toss games, so attending this was on her wish list. The costumes were not ready, but I had left things behind in Florida that did not fit in my suitcases last trip, including costume clothes I bought for our dress up bin last year at 90% off! We put together a witch and vampire costume together in a pinch, no problem.
It was exciting to be surrounded by kids in costumes, and a whole gym full of county sponsored Halloween crafts and games. There was also a Halloween hunt where a field was littered with prizes like spider rings and glow bracelets. This was first, along with what was being hunted- Halloween Eggs. It was a bit Tim Burton, a bit of holiday genre bending going on with that. They were like plastic easter eggs, half black and half orange, filled with prizes. Yes, another sign that there is waaaay too much commercialization of everything over here!! The circus, but fun, still. We ran into a family who I midwifed for, so it was fun to see the babies I caught all big and grown up looking, and chat and catch up with the parents. Ah, small talk with familiars in english!
The next day, grandpa got his chance to carve pumpkins once again
Come that evening, we went to a family party for my cousin's one year old baby- a birthday costume party. My cousin is 7 years younger than me, and he was the first baby I spoon fed while he sat in a high chair. It was a delight to see him feeding his son in his high chair.
It was great to be at a Halloween costume party with my cousins, parents, grandma, an aunt I rarely see since a family divorce, and an uncle who is now walking fully after a motorcycle accident that nearly killed him last year. I had the job of assessing and reporting to my extended family if he was roadkill last February, and was one of the first to see him while still fresh in the trauma center, so it was true joy to see him walking around and dressed up and drinking beer.
My cousin is known as quite the hunter. He just gave me 5 lbs of alligator meat from the 9 1/2 foot alligator he hunted last week. That is a whole other wild tale, that involves him sinking the boat in the gator infested lake at night. And he had a costume, yes he did! His brothers and sister were in town and they were the Scooby doo crew. I say, there is nothing like eating battered and deep fried gator dipped in hot sauce fried fresh by man in a Scooby Suit, while he tends two crock pots full of BBQed wild boar for pulled pork sandwiches.
Scooby Snacks, anyone?And Halloween proper, there were at least three awesome, not to be missed day time events going on. So we missed two, and headed to the always magical Children's Garden for Halloween fun. The girls still wearing their 'in a pinch' witch and vampire costumes (now made better with vampire teeth from the park event) as the real ones were awaiting finishing touches.
She got her face painted
And met up with some friends, the daughter of a guy I know from high school. This is another little girl I knew when she was just growing in her mom's tummy. Great to see the family, they are now expecting their second child at Christmas.
More babies from my midwife days, this one nearly 11. I knew her mom from middle school softball. We used to carpool in 7th grade, when we were not much older than her daughter is now.
I was part of 3 births in their family of 5 kids, and shared office space with them when I was starting out. It was fun to hear all about their homeschooling adventures, and catch up.
And the children's garden is such a fun place to play!!!!
Water the flowers in the butterfly garden
It is truly magical, born of a lovely dreamer
After playing until lunchtime, we headed back home for food and naps. Then we got dressed up to join friends for a potluck dinner and trick or treating with the tribe. I could not get baby to sit still enough to model her mouse costume, now finally done with finishing touches!
One eyed one horned flying through the air purple people eater, as she called herself
Totally excited to use Halloween Hair color for the first time!
The Party!Bam Bam in front of the ultimate man cave..... the papa of this family hosting the party has a converted garage filled with TVs and sports paraphernalia used for watching sports, loving called his man cave. So this little cave man fits right in, massive BBQ grill and all.
Frida Kahlo and her Viking, with fairy princess
The Hostess WHO makes it all happen.
Swedegirl and her buddies with pink hair! There is a favorite picture like this one from 3 years ago when the girls were almost 3, here they are almost 6.
Another favorite gal pal kitty!
It felt so good to hang out with my people, get to see all the kids in costumes. There was peter pan and tinker bell, a vampire, Harry Potter, an Egyptian princess, a mad surgeon, and more...
We headed out together in a pack of nearly 20 trick or treating. The thing that was so great was there were MULTIPLE packs of 20 roaming the streets. We drove home in the dark through pack and pack after of kids wearing glow necklaces. When we were out, I heard a parent remind the kids 'say trick or treat!' and wonder out loud when their kid stopped saying trick or treat.. Another chimed in 'maybe about the time Halloween became a month long holiday!' So true. It is done up so much in the USA these days! But back home in Sweden, one thing about the trick or treating has seemed unclear to Swedes I know curious about Halloween, and that is that saying Trick or Treat is not actually perceived as a threat. The only tricking done on Halloween is done by mischievous teens who may try their hand at egging a house or car, or toilet papering a tree of a teacher or kid they know. It does not have anything to do with if you give the kids candy or not. People have their houses decorated, and sit nearby waiting for their doorbell to ring, and they answer and the kids yell 'trick or treat!' .... but it is just an announcement they are there, used as a greeting more than a threat.
Trick or Treat!!
What's in the bag at the end of the night? Mostly chocolate, and only three pieces had forbidden food coloring that I had to trade out.
It was good to get a big old dose of America, and get to be part of the Halloween Circus with family, friends, familars, and have even more options for fun than we could possibly participate in.
At every event we went to, there were people I knew from way back when and children I helped be born. It is great to be known, and as someone special to many people. It has been humbling to go from being the village midwife to being just an unemployed american stay at home mom anomaly who does not know swedish. I may have a great life started in Sweden, but to settle there I will need to accept the type of relationships I have here are special and irreplaceable, and make a new life there that is built on something else entirely. A real future in Sweden would be in letting go of my sense of the old me, and opening to a new one.
On this Day of the Dead, I am not sure if I am into resurrection or burial.