When we moved to Australia last year, we weren't expecting anyone to celebrate Halloween, so we were surprised and seriously unprepared when lots of trick-or-treaters came to our door. This year, I bought quite a bit of candy, and there weren't nearly as many trick-or-treaters...meaning those who came by took home handfuls of candy (hooray!). Halloween is very much an imported holiday here. The witches and goblins made it over, but you don't see much costume variety and almost no home decoration. Maybe they'll get there in time, maybe not.
I admit that I'm getting slack on American holidays. At first, I tried celebrating anyway while living somewhere no one else really acknowledged the holiday, but I found more often than not that made me feel even more sad and remote from home. Then again, letting them skate by unacknowledged doesn't feel so great either. The middle ground is not making too much of a fuss, and just enjoying them simply. Simple is good! We knew we wouldn't take the girls trick-or-treating, but I wanted them to have costumes anyway. After all, we had been invited to a birthday party at the Margaret River Chocolate Company, costumes welcome. In the spirit of simple, I decided to make the girls' costumes. They needed to match so there'd be no jealousy. They needed to be simple so they'd be comfortable. Ladybugs!
I just whipped up some smocked sundresses from red cotton quilting fabric. Ellie helped me potato stamp the black spots onto it first. Add a headband with sparkly antennae, and we were in business!
In reality, the costumes didn't last long. Ellie prefers to choose her own clothes, and the ladybug dress was not her outfit of choice. Also, she said the headband hurt her head (her hair is really thin, so the little combs meant to keep it in place probably scraped her a bit). After the novelty of her headband wore off (about 30 seconds), Stephanie never even tried on her dress. No one ever accused my children of not being fiercely independent. This is why the "simple is best" philosophy works!
The party was good fun, if a bit overwhelming in size. Down Under, it's common practice to invite whole families to birthday parties. Consider the average size family of 4. Invite your child's entire class at school, plus friends from other places and quickly you have a birthday party of over 100 people. Yikes!
After such a busy morning, we laid low in the evening, playing across the street with the neighbors as the trick-or-treaters made their rounds. Not a very Halloween feel, but it was a really nice day.