Halloween in the desert

Halloween is HUGE in our compound. It started on October 1 with spooky decorations on a few doorsteps, gathered pace as more households draped cobwebs over the bushes and strung up witches, and culminated last night with our community’s collective descent into trick-or-treatery.

To say the children were very excited is an understatement, and having lived in the States for five years, I can honestly say ‘we do’ Halloween* [whispers: I love this holiday! The children will gorge on bucketfuls of candy, I’ll help myself to copious amounts too – and that’s okay!]

Ready to scare: My littlest skeleton

The kids were dressed and ready by 4pm for a Halloween party next door, then, as night fell, we joined the droves of children outside and trooped from door-to-door under a full moon.

And, I have to say, as I accompanied my two skeletons on a balmy evening around streets aglow with jack-o-lanterns, I was really impressed by the wickedness some of our neighbours had dreamt up.

Not everyone takes part (and the rule is you don’t knock at villas with no porch light on), but many families who did get into the spirit had turned their doorsteps into mini Halloween dens – complete with scary sound effects and fiery torches in some cases.

A few highlights for us were:

– The household with the distressed maiden upstairs who dropped water bombs from the window – with a deathly scream

– The wobbly eyeballs (made from jelly and icing sugar) that were handed out in paper cups and made me whimper

– The dog dressed in a skull-and-crossbone outfit

– The drive-by trick-or-treaters sitting in a six-foot trailer pulled by a quad bike

– The ghoul standing in the dark who honestly looked like he could be fake, but then jumped out on me with an axe [insert horror movie screech]

– And the flying witch rigged up high above G street

* It took a couple of years in the US before I got it. Whilst still a learner, I sat at work one Halloween until 5, wondering why everyone was leaving early. Missed a trick there!

Best-dressed dad: We’d only got about 50 yards or so up our road when my friend informed me: “Just to warn you, all the kids are coming away from that house crying!” Our curiosity piqued, we nudged the kids in that direction, told them to be brave and watched (because after someone’s told you that, you can’t walk away without finding out why, can you?). Lurking in the shadows by their front door was the dad, dressed as a four-legged, long-haired monster, and as the trick-or-treaters filed up the path to line up at the door (yes, line up, there were that many out last night), he’d lurch forwards with a growl. Gotta love the crazy things people do on Halloween!

4 thoughts on “Halloween in the desert

  1. Oh, this sounds wonderful – so much like our neighborhoods in Texas and Arizona – I’m guessing you must have quite a few Americans in your neighborhood if things got that elaborate! We always had a big cookout in our cul de sac before the actual trick-or-treating began, so it was a wonderful, convivial night with friends and neighbors besides the trick-or-treating. I just showed a PowerPoint to my little English learners called, ‘Halloween in the USA’ and made myself horribly homesick while showing them how much fun we always had.
    Seoul, by contrast, is very quiet, although there were lots of private parties. If I didn’t teach at an elementary school, it probably would have sneaked right by me this year….

    • Yes, there are lots of Americans here, but so many other nationalities join in too! Two South African friends put on a couple of the fun things I mentioned. Your cul-de-sac celebration sounds like it was great – such a shame you can’t export it to Seoul. Sending a hug for the homesickness.

  2. Rachel says:

    I am in big trouble for being in Dubai and away from our neighbourhood for Halloween and was captivated by your blog. We spent 4 years living in Accra and the experience there sounds very similar to that you describe. Do you have advice about where to take my sad 8 year old trick or treating ? Many thanks Rachel

    • Hi Rachel, thanks for dropping me a line! Welcome to Dubai! I think you’ll enjoy Halloween here – with the balmy climate, it’s perfect for trick or treating! We live in a big compound and each Halloween there are literally hundreds of children out trick or treating. Any of the big compounds in Dubai are great for Halloween (Arabian Ranches, etc)…and there are also lots of events and parties organised. If you do a quick search on Gooogle, you should find details. I really hope your 8 year old has a great time! My oldest is 8 too (nearly 9), but this year he’s suddenly decided he’s too old for Halloween!!! Although I think he might change his mind when he sees me buying all the candy in preparation! Have fun x

Leave a Reply