October 31, 2010

Halloween Singapore Style

Halloween is the first day we've spent here that held any sort of tradition for us back home. The boys spent every year we lived in our Houston home trick or treating with the same group of neighborhood friends. They went from sweet and adorable firemen and power rangers to not so sweet ninja warriors and creepy people in the six years we were there.

As Halloween approached here in Singapore, it became obvious that costumes went at a premium and enormous bags of candy were extremely difficult to find. Halloween is not a holiday that most Chinese recognize so there's not an abundance of decor and costumes to be found. People were having grandparents ship in costumes or husbands traveling to the states make Party City runs to stock up.

I was extremely thankful for a neighbor that has lived here many years and her knowledge of a costume store nearby where I could attempt to pull something together for the boys. My rule has always been that I don't mind them dressing up and having fun, but they are not allowed to be anything demonic or scary. Garrett finally settled on being a jazz musician.

Nathan went as a hip hop/rap something or another. Honestly, he found a couple blingy necklaces and just made it work for him.....he was waaaayyyyyy too comfortable in his costume.

The school has Halloween parties for the classes and they went all out. Teachers were dressed up, there were costume parades, games, food galore....it was a lot of fun. Many parents even dressed up which is great, but I'm not sure dressing in a full-on catsuit with 4 inch heels, tail, and cat ears is very appropriate for an elementary school party. Meow, meow was in a 1st grade classroom........just in case anyone for a second thought I was talking about myself. Because me dressed in a catsuit with 4 inch heels would have broken my own rules about costumes not being scary. Just sayin'.......

This is Nathan's class and his teacher is the mime in the back. I had the privilege of being in charge of collecting material for the Halloween Mad Lib for the class and reading the final story to them. Let's just say it was very 4th grade appropriate which means it wasn't very appropriate at all, but they loved it.

Saturday night was the party at our condo. I was interested to see what riding an elevator from floor to floor to trick or treat was going to be like. If you were participating, you unlocked the elevator to stop on your floor. Our building has 3 different elevators and 25 floors......let's just say it took some time to get it all done. My friend Tiffany, and her girls, came over to hang out with us. Her husband is currently back in the states eating Mexican food every night....we kinda hate him right now.

Cramming on the elevator after stopping at our floor.......so glad I wasn't the designated parent holding the door open!!

Garrett came up to me at one point and with the saddest look on his face he told me that it just didn't feel the same. This was not what Halloween was supposed to be like. I quickly informed him that we would be trick or treating in a real neighborhood Halloween night and it would feel just like home.

Boy, was I wrong.

Our school is located at the very northern part of the country. You can see Malaysia from there. That part of Singapore is called the Woodlands. It is a good 20-30 minutes from town and has a good size neighborhood next to the school that is heavily ex-pat populated. We looked at a house there and in some ways, it felt just like being in America. Kids riding their bikes, neighbors out socializing and located just blocks away from the school. The houses are all pretty large and cost the same if not less than many apartments in town. We were extremely tempted to live there, but decided that if we had a chance to try out the urban lifestyle, than we ought to take advantage of it while we could.

I had been hearing about Halloween in the Woodlands and how crazy it was, but I'm not sure that I fully comprehended it. It is the ONLY option for neighborhood trick or treating in Singapore that I know of and there aren't any fall festivals or other activities to take the place of trick or treating. My guess is that almost every ex-pat in Singapore, and many locals, were there tonight. It was incredible.

I have a good friend that lives in the Woodlands and she invited me, Tiffany, and Lisa and our kids to come up for dinner before the madness began. Tiffany normally dresses up every single year and her girls were very sad that she didn't this year so she painted on a cat face and looked adorable. Nathan informed me that I looked like a farmer's wife in my denim shirt. Unlike Tiffany, I wasn't trying to be dressed up.....Nathan got 3 boxes of Nerds taken away from him for that comment.

The official start time for trick or treating was 6:00. Seems a little rigid to you? Just wait......

The kids all ready to go.

Nathan's best bud, Matt, showed up at the house right away so off they went.

Garrett found a friends very quickly and went off with them. I got to hang out with all the girls. It started off pretty tame, but within about 30 minutes, it looked like this which is exactly why they don't start until 6 or you'd have people camping out in front of the homes at 4 in the afternoon!

This picture does not even do it justice. There were people EVERYWHERE. Up and down every street, crowding the gates leading to the houses. We assisted 2 lost children in finding their parents along the way.....it was nuts!! I have never seen anything like it. The fun part was running into people you knew from school, church, our apt building. From what I've heard, there's apparently over 2,000 people that go through that neighborhood every Halloween.

The award for best group costume easily went to the jellyfish group. They even had a bubble machine with them to make it seem real. Loved it!

I had been commenting to the girls about the fact that the most common candy I steal from the Halloween buckets are anything Reeses related and how I had seen none since living here. I had no sooner said that than the girls hit Reeses jackpot at a house. It must have been a home with someone that had recently been in the states. Tiffany's daughter, Caroline, does not like peanut butter so she offered up her Reeses to me. I almost wept out of sheer excitement. I ate it right there on the spot and loved every bite of it.

Lisa scored one too.

We were happy, happy girls. Hot, sweaty, and overwhelmed....but very happy!

An hour and a half later and it was time for the bidding wars to begin. The most crucial part of the evening was when trading opened up at the dining room table and pixie sticks were being exchanged for Snickers and Twizzlers exchanged for Laffy Taffy. It was heated at times and definitely fueled by a killer sugar high, but everyone walked away from the table friends.

For a holiday that has never really been my favorite, I have enjoyed the parties and even the craziness of tonight. It felt like a community and community feels like home.

I better start stocking up on Laffy Taffy for next year!!


  1. With candy so expensive there, I can't imagine having to stock up for a night like that. Thanks for letting us all live vicariously through you! I love following all your adventures!

  2. Wowzers. We trick-or-treat from 6-8 here, but no huge crowds. :)

  3. WoW...We skipped out on everything tonight. MC 2 had a fall carnival at school and got candy at church. MC 1 went hunting with daddy so he was out of luck.

  4. I love it girl!!!! It sounds like soooo much fun! Looks like Bourbon Street in that neighborhood! FYI- it was hot and sweaty here tonight too! Also-- I indulged in a Reeses cup too!!! So....it's almost like we were in the same place. :). I love the boy's costumes and Nathan makes a legit rapper fo $ho!
    Love you all-- hug your boys for me!

  5. This is awesome. In trying to make things as "normal" as possible, you ended up with the most "not-normal, normal" Halloween! And how fun!! What an experience I am sure. FYI, I have the same rule for costumes (I'm not surprised, are you?!), nothing scary or devil/grim reaper/blood and guts oriented. The boys only gave me a loud *sigh and WHY??* on this a couple of times over the years, and Katie, well, who has to worry when we just alternate between princesses and cheerleaders? I mean, really. But now the boys have "outgrown" the whole costume thing...not the candy part though. They are currently paying Katie for candy. Hehe, I don't know if I should tell them there's a whole bag of it in the cabinet;-) I will, I will, later...;-) But the high note of the celebration has to be that you got your Reese's!!! That deserves major exclamation points!!!!!!! Who needs normalcy when you have peanut butter and chocolate? I think about you all the time, and miss you even though we've never met. Hang in there, Mama, you are awesome <3

  6. So fun!! I love learning about Singapore through your eyes! I know it has been a hard adjustment for you -- but I am so glad you are still getting out and soaking it all in!
    2,000 people in the streets would have put me in a looney bin!! I was freaking out with the 25-30 running crazy in the streets when I took Colby trick-or-treating!
    Can't wait to hear about your next adventure!!

  7. Hi do u know If the neighbourhood will be doing trick or treating again this year? Haha



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