Halloween in Dubai was something I wasn't sure existed, but indeed it does.
The gourds called "Pumkins" (sic) here are large, mottled cream and green things, generally from Iran or India or Australia, not my idea at all of what a pumpkin should be.
So it was with much delight that I heard that one of the local grocery chains was planning to import American pumpkins. I went in early and sure enough, a pile of gorgeous orange glowing orbs awaited. Thomas was tickled "Pumpkin! Pumpkin Mommy!!!
We purchased the almost 7 lb one above for 62.50 Dhs, $17.25. (Mike said "You spent how much on a pumpkin?") At the counter the produce person had to call over two other people to figure out how to charge for it; I had gotten the first one. Despite its long journey, it still had a stem.
Visitors to our home would exclaim over it, either "What is that?" or "Omygod a PUMPKIN!" The pumpkin was patted, stroked, and loved.
Rani was appalled when she found out we intended to carve rather than eat it. She tried to tell me no madam several times. I'm already in trouble with her every time I clean out the refrigerator. Now I know to save bread for her birds and any unspiced meat for her cats and not to throw away any containers that she can reuse for carrying food to the many beneficiaries of her cooking on her little hot plates.
Bethy must have asked 20 times a day, "when are we going to carve the pumpkin?" which increased as we got closer to the day. She drew several designs for the face, finally settling on one that was deemed scary enough. We taught Thomas how to say "pumpkin guts" and the two of them scaped with spoons and pulled out mush with gusto.
There weren't too many choices when it came to costumes for the kids. Thomas ended up wearing his Superman PJs and in a stroke of sheer luck I found an Incredibles costume for Bethy at an expat's garage sale. Halloween candy was exhorbitantly priced. Most of the parents I talked to in the UAE spent much time asking each other if they'd heard of how Halloween works here. No one seemed to know.
It wasn't all that different, fewer participants.
I can tell you one thing: this was the first Halloween that not only did the kids not have to wear puffy winter coats over their costumes, but I was worried they might get overheated!
It was a sweltering night, and we traipsed along the streets with a group of friends, (us, 2 princesses and a ninja, respectively), overhearing some of the other mums on their mobiles trading inside information on which villas were giving the best handouts.
Bethy was amazed at the stars. ( look Mom!)
I don't think I've ever seen stars on Halloween either...don't ever recall a break in the clouds.
As soon as the kids were wound up with anough sugar to send them into the stratosphere, we called it a night and went home to take care of any trick-or-treaters who showed up at our house. The carved pumpkin did us proud, glowing scarily and adorably and immediately netting results.
Bethy stationed herself in her little chair right by the door, eagerly awaiting the bell. She and Thomas thought handing out candy to kids was just this side of heaven. The night went on and Thomas (and Mike) had to be put to bed, but Bethy waited unwaveringly by the door. Finally she went and got two chairs, a blanket and a pillow, and said that she'd "just rest for a minute, I'll hear the doorbell when someone comes..."
I waited until she was well and truly asleep, then sneaked outside to blow out the candle in the pumpkin and bring it inside. Alas, it had fallen prey to pumpkin smashers, and was scattered down our street. I picked up the carnage, so as to not have traumatised children in the morning. This helped explain the sharp decline in the numbers of treaters.
I carried what Mike deemed our "Incredibly Exhausted" little girl up to bed and tucked her in. Superman was snoring softly in the other room.
Bethy had said, for the first time ever, with starry eyes, clutching her treat bag, I like it here in Dubai I want to stay forever.
Now that is Incredible!