Saturday, October 31, 2009

'Cause this is thriller, thriller night...

Before we get into today, let me say how thrilled I am to get such great response to my call for questions about life in Dubai...thank you all so much! I'm inspired and will have a post for each of you. And no, there is no "cut-off date" for my invitation. If you're hesitating to leave a comment, go for it! I really want to know what you're interested in. Hey, it'll keep me from blogging about running for a while...probably, anyway....

Here's to y'all.

Now, Halloween. It was SO lovely for Bethy to get to wear her costume to school, where they had a party and a parade with all the darling kids in their costumes. The American schools celebrate American holidays. I love this! Halloween this year was also far better supported by the stores, which was great. They had lots more pumpkins, at about half the price of last year, and decorative gourds and mini pumpkins...yeah! A small bag of candy miniatures still ran about $10, and even at that price I bought far too much, no surprise.

Death to pumpkin

We managed to find Bethy a costume she liked, deep breath of relief. She had wanted to be Jessie, the cowgirl from Toy Story 2. This is not a common costume. Even the big stores had essentially two offers for girls: witch or princess, (life is like that for us girls, isn't it?!) and I was having a particularly hard time trying to find cow-patterned chaps and a red cowgirl hat. Though it would have been an adventure, I was also reticent to try and have a local tailor make one for her. Language barriers could have ended up really tricky there.

I talked to some other parents about this and most of them had brought the costumes from their home countries or bought them online and paid the hideous shipping fees. I UPS-ed two pieces of paper to the USA to have one of our rental house's utilities put under our property manager's name and that ran me $60. Yes, USD. Yes, we begged the PUD to let us email or fax, no go. They wanted an original signature. Anyway, I digress...

Bethy was being an awfully good sport and was also willing to be a black cat, so we went to Carrefour, the largest hypermarket in Dubai. At the store there were no cat costumes, though I was all ready to make her ears out of pipe cleaners and a tail out of a feather boa. Craft stuff is harder to find here too (Oh, how I miss Michaels and JoAnn Etc) but those bits I could have hunted down in a pinch.

A nice stroke of good luck: Bethy found a pink-and-green Tinkerbell costume in the 0-3 year old section of the store. She crammed herself determinedly into the thing, and it worked! We already have plenty of faerie wings, found sequined green shoes (these things you can find, go figure!) and we were good to go.

Here she is (her teachers are Dr Seuss' Thing One and Thing Two, in case you're wondering), during the school Halloween Parade:

Yes, her costume fit like a swimsuit, and Mike and I both hesitated briefly about that, then decided it was no more revealing than a ballerina costume and went for it anyway. It's still pretty warm here, so as it was she was more comfortable than her brother in his costume.

Now, Thomas: He asked for a "T" Jack-O-Lantern:

Why, yes that IS a watermelon growing there in the flowerbed. We are ridiculously proud of our found produce (I knew it was a good idea to let the kids eat watermelon and spit the seeds outside) and Eba the Turtle hasn't tried to eat it yet. All of the sudden we had this huge yellow flowering vine taking over a portion of our garden, the gardener apparently approved, as it did not disappear, so I left it in there to see what it was. We were guessing cucumber or (eek) zucchini, but this was really a delightful surprise.

Looking it the "T" perhaps you are tempted to say I took the easy road on carving his pumpkin, silly you. When did I ever not put effort into whimsy? I also had him make the face he wanted for the front of the pumpkin:

There, a real pumpkin. And his costume...drum roll please...

Buzz Lightyear! Totally a hit with the neighborhood. Not only did it have wings and the swim cap was the perfect touch, (bald guys expecially loved that) but the thing also lights up and plays Tim Allen phrases from the movie. How awesome is that? It was from Disneyland Paris, according to the tag. Can I just gloat one more time that it cost an unnegotiated 10 dirhams ($2.72) at the Dubai Flea Market?

Here he is pushing the button to make it work.

Halloween seems to be mostly an American holiday. Well, duh, it's all about dressing up and gluttony. We're all over that! Did you see my beer?

OK, I fib, it was Mike's beer and we both worked at drinking the thing.

Only perhaps one out of every 25 villas in our neighborhood had a decoration or pumpkin indicating they were into the spirit and giving candy to the kids, so our family walked a lot. Out of the houses we visited, (and Thomas got 2 pounds of candy in about 90 minutes, most of that walking rather than treating) only one was American, so we felt pretty good about the other neighbors from all over the world adopting our ways for the kids.

We did have a BMW drive by, blaring scary Halloween sounds from the stereo and handing out candies, which was a new one for me, and very Dubai. At another the glamorous inhabitants were lounging on their front patio beneath a palm tree, smoking shisha while they were handing out candy and watching the little kids troop by.

We know there is one neighborhood that goes all out with decoration one-upping one another, but for us this year it was plenty to walk beneath the moon in the velvety warm night and spot the rare house giving treats.

Bethy's Pumpkin

At the end of the night Thomas' curls were soaked with sweat beneath his cap and he took it very happily off. Both Jack-O-Lanterns survived the night, and we are gleefully planting and roasting their seeds.


*Paula* said...

Sounds wonderful! My Tommy would LOVE that buzz lightyear costume! Wish I could talk Molly into Jesse (we love toy story) but she wanted to be Barbie Mariposa (a butterfly fairy)

Will & Cheyenne said...

Happy Halloween to your family!
Tip for getting a good pic with the hubby??? Headlock and camera.

*Paula* said...

Ooop! The whole reason I came here was to thank you for YOUR comment. But then I got distracted by your halloween post :D I have always loved sesame st, and have a special soft spot for Grover and Kermit. It's not easy being green is my favorite song from the show. I will definitely show them to Molly :) Thanks again Natalie!

Your Friendly Neighborhood Librarian said...

Great costumes!
This would have been one of my questions: How do you carry on American customs in Dubai? And you began to answer it with Halloween. I'd like to hear about the other holidays or customs.

Abid said...

That isn't a pint glass is it?

Looks a little small from the bottom :p

Abid said...

And good costumes for the kids. I, being a grown up 'kid', went as a Scottish man!

Anonymous said...

Wow that is such an amazing bargain getting a Buzz Lightyear costume for under 3 USD! I have seen them in the Paris Disney store and they cost a fortune!

Glad you're back to blogging because I enjoy reading your posts. I'll try and think of some questions ;-D

Larousse from Paris France

Adria Donovan said...

beautiful pics!! great venue to throw a kids birthday party as i was planning one for my 6 year old daughter!!