Monday, September 29, 2008

Halloween 101


A few years ago, my mom had a couple from Sweden move in next door. Come Halloween time, my mom put one large pumpkin and one small one on her front step. The next day, she saw the Swedes had done the same, one large and one small, assuming it was the American tradition. For some reason, I find that beyond hilarious.

That got me thinking: this whole Halloween season must seem so bizarre to foreigners.

Foreigner: So what do I do first?

American: First, get yourself some cornstalks for the front of the house.

Foreigner: From a farm?

American: No, from Michael's. Grab a scarecrow while you're there, too.

Foreigner: But I don't have any crops to guard...

American: You need a scarecrow. Everybody has one.

Foreigner: And where do I get the pumpkin?

American: Well, you could just buy one at the grocery store...but the REAL way to do it is drag the whole family to a "pumpkin farm", stand on line for a hayride, ride a quarter mile out to a field, pose for the Christmas photo, "pick" a pumpkin from the ground, lug it back to the cashier, spend $30 in pies, and go home.

Foreigner: And then I have to carve a face into it?

American : Only if your kids remind you.

Foreigner: OK -and what do I need for Halloween night.

American: Lots of candy. To give to the neighbors' kids.

Foreigner: And what about my kids?

American: They'll be getting candy from the neighbors.

Foreigner: And do they eat all this candy?

American: No. There will be a lot of candy they "don't like".

Foreigner: And what happens to that candy?

American: The moms eat it.

Foreigner: So once you've visited everyone in the neighborhood, and they've oohed and aahhd over your kids' costumes, do you all become friends and socialize on a regular basis?

American: No - we don't speak again til next Halloween.

61 comments:

SuburbanCorrespondent said...

Oh, yeah - but warn them that when they go to Michaels, they should leave any small children at home.

scargosun said...

You totally got it in a nutshell.

ali said...

My husbands step-grandma is coming to visit from New Zealand in a couple of weeks. I have a skeleton hanging in my living room and I'm wondering if I should bother explaining or just let her think that's how we roll.

Cathie said...

oh don't remind me, I have yet to even start thinking of Halloween!

Tiffany said...

HAHA They must think we're crazy. Well some of my neighbors think I AM with all my Halloween shit.

georgie said...

I LOVE Halloween and can't wait to do my pumpkins...i clean out the inside then drill holes all over it-it looks so cool lit up at night!

Cheryl said...

SO funny. I am just picturing this conversation....

sassy stephanie said...

You.totally.nailed.it. I love it.

Mrs. Newlywed said...

Hilarious!

Sounds right. My parents are immigrants from Europe, and they always say that they had NO idea what it was. They just asked the neighbors, because they kept seeing these "crazy outfits" in the store.

We still make fun of them for it.

Caroline said...

I just put all my Halloween crap up yesterday...and making a Michael's run this morning for more crap (b/c you can never have too much Halloween decor)! I love this holiday!

Rachel said...

Sooooo true!!!

BTW I love the Gangsta and his new friend...they soo ROCK! I love these posts!!! Not to mention all your posts!

Meredith said...

I've never really gotten into the Halloween spirit, but with my Little B. at an age where things are starting to make sense, I think we will be going to the Pumpkin Farm, and decorating out lawn, and definately going around to get lots of candy for mom and dad. (Little B. is still to young to remember the next day that he loaded up with sugar the night before, we will just hide it from him!)

Lisa@verybusymomwith4 said...

Yep--that sums it all up :)

Brittany said...

They should hand this out at the border, just so everyone is on the same page.

Wendi said...

You. are. hilarious.
Thanks for reminding me how it all goes.
I can't remember anything these days!!!

Aleta said...

LMAO! I loved this post. It was just recently I was thinking the same thing. The neighbors across from us have children. I love neighbors with children, because their yards tend to reflect it with all the decorations. What must people think that we celebrate with spookey costumes and weird traditions. Lol..

Anonymous said...

Is BG going out as Mr Bill?

You are one up on Heather...unless you have a police Mug Shot!

Wheezer said...

When we lived in Germany it took about 2 seconds for the German kids to catch on that the Americans were giving out free candy. They didn't even bother to dress up...they just took the pillow case off their euro size pillows and came a'beggin'. We would MAKE them say "Trick or Treat" before we would give them anything...Meanie Americans!

Cocotte said...

Don't forget that fake spider web crap you need to spread all over the bushes. You'll still be picking it off the next summer.

Allison said...

Dude. The Roloff's make a killing come Halloween.

Leslie said...

rofl! Yup, that about sums it up!

KD @ A Bit Squirrelly said...

See here is squirrelly-ville we not only have to go to a pumpkin farm but THE pumpkin farm owned by america's favorite little big people, the Roloffs. Oh the joy of hayride lines that are an hour long.

Linda S said...

Ambassador Sue...you have a knack for international relations...

cam said...

I have the job of teaching my Swiss host family about Halloween, cause it's just not a big deal here. They see it as consumerism creeping over from America.

I'm going to print this out and give it to them at dinner. But I just need to find the Swiss version of Michael's....

Jennifer said...

LOl--it is a weird hioliday when you think about it, but I love it!

Oh, and there's NO candy my kids don't like!! I have to fight them for it.

Heinous said...

That's too funny. Especially the part where you only have to carve the face if the kids remind you.

Crap, that means it's time to face the corm maze at the pumpkin patch again isn't it?

* TONYA * said...

I took Halloween to Australia last year. Made all the kids dress up, cooked creepy food and decorated the hell out of the house. They loved it.

Threeboys1mommy said...

My hood gets all in the spirit of decorating, but when it's time to make with the candy, they turn off the lights! Posers!

- I'm carrying a crate of eggs in the Radio Flyer this year,PLEASE BELIEVE ME!

Mandy said...

So true.

Halloween starts the downward spiral to Weight Gain World for me. It doesn't stop until Super Bowl Sunday.

Val said...

That was great....and right on!

As for the candy....this is our age old tradition started by my Dad and still in existence today:

Kids collect candy early, way early. Come home, dump first load. Dad sorts out the ones he likes, takes rest and puts in bowl to hand back out. This continues for the remaining of the evening....us dumping, him sorting and handing out!

deconstructing jen said...

Hehehe, that's so bad and sooo true.

amelia bedelia said...

you forgot the part about turning off your porch light because you don't want to get up every 5 seconds and answer the door.

Mama2hre said...

Perfect! I never thought about it from an "outsider's" perspective! Ha!

Sensei said...

Make sure to tell your foreign neighbors that they also get to enjoy reliving Halloween the next day, when they are cleaning up broken eggs on their front door and wet toilet paper that has been tossed across every tree branch in their front yard.

It's the best.

Swirl Girl said...

I hate Halloween for all it's pagan ritual crap.

I'm moving to Sweden until Thanksgiving.

Anonymous said...

Halloween already!!! It was just Labor day.

What was your best Halloween costume ever as an Adult....I went to a party wearing a Cowboy outfit, Hat and boots with a piece of toasted bread pinned to the front and back........Toasted Western Sandwich!

Batman as a Kid. Wore my Mom's Long Black evening Gloves (I am old)

Posey said...

People from other countries must just think we are all crazy Americans!

ciara said...

that about sums it up! lol i did have scarecrows that i had planned to use this year that i got from big lots for super super cheap, but then hubby got rid of them while decluttering the garage (the only part of the house that is clutter free btw). i wasn't too upset considering they were around 30 cents a piece lol

we do have some things to put up soon though...kids draw the faces on the pumpkins, hubby cuts them out.

Heather said...

In the words of the immortal Homer J. Simpson, "It's funny because it's true."

As always, snorting with laughter over your post. (I am *so* ladylike, with my delicate laughter snorting. Seriously.)

Which reminds me, I need to get out my scarecrows from the basement. You know, the one I bought at Michael's about 10 years ago...

Susan in the Psych Ward said...

Funny, although now one of my best friends now have a party, the big kids take the little kids out for candy and the adults sit at the house, give out candy and drink beer... now that's perfect!

Givinya De Elba said...

Seriously? Wow. We don't do much Halloweening here in Australia. Some people must because there are ghoulish costumes to be bought, but nobody ever wears them, or gets seen in them, or trick-n-treats. It's just never taken off here.

HappyHourSue said...

OMG! I have an Australian reader!!!!

jill jill bo bill said...

You should have told them to give out huge wads of cash then send your kids over there again and again.

jaime said...

most of the foreigners don't even celebrate it- they sit home in the dark that night and pretend they aren't home- WE KNOW YOU ARE HOME! GIVE THE KIDS SOME FUCKIN CANDY!

lol!

funny thing is, my parents admitted a few years back that they either go out, or sit home in the dark now becuase the kids from the "not so nice town over" go around their neighborhood w/out costumes and demand candy. FOR SHAME MOM AND DAD!

Jen said...

yeah it is kinda a weird holiday tradition if you think about it that way.
But that doesn't mean that I will not be out there with my kids and people better ohh and ahh over them

Emily said...

And remind everyone that you're never too old to trick or treat. My students still do it at the high school level. And they don't even bother to dress up any more. The candy is for their "little sista." And then they eat all that candy in my room and leave a mess.

Jenni Jiggety said...

LOL! That pretty much sums up Halloween!

Alice said...

Yo Sue - it was great catching up with your stuff. Awesome Play-Doh work! ; )

Beth (A Mom's Life) said...

Great job summing it up!

You forgot to add the part about convincing your kid that they are not going to spend $100 on a costume. That's always what I look forward to!

Deb said...

How funny. Halloween must freak foreigners out.

Lauren said...

Or you could be single like me, live in a building with pretty much no kids and buy nothing except maybe a sign that says BOOOO GO AWAY! HAHAHA!

McMommy said...

I get *so* into Halloween, it's not even funny.

Send the Swedes over to me...I've got a costume idea: The Swedish volleyball team.

Moe Wanchuk said...

I love halloween. It let's me teach my kids about taxes. As soon as they get home, I have them spread all their candy out, then I swiftly take 36% of it. You know, we call it the Moe tax.

mommaof4wife2r said...

love it!!! when you say it out loud, it's even crazier than doing it!

Jen said...

Love the last line! I think we must live in the same neighborhood. :)

Lisa-licious said...

I just love Halloween! It is so wonderful when the adorable costumed youngsters ring the bell and chime "trick or treat", I gently open the door, welcome them with a sweet smile, and kindly hand them handfuls of candy. They turn to leave, pleased with their sugary treasures, and...
YAHHHHHHHHGGH! My husband jumps out of the bushes and scares the crap out of them!!! It's great!

Plus, It's the SLUTS NATIONAL HOLIDAY! When else can you dress like a total tramp and get away with it?!
What?! Pirate's never wore "FISH-net stockings?! Are you SURE???!!!

anti-supermom said...

The last line - when we don't speak again until next year - is perfect. Absolutely true.

Zoie said...

Halloween is my favorite holiday. I am crazy to wear Halloween costume.

tiffer said...

When my grandmother first moved here from France and my grandfather was fighting in the war, whe was very confused by the kids knocking on her door begging for food. She told my grandfather the following day on the phone that all night long beggers kept coming to the door but she would not give them anything.

Elaine A. said...

Hope someone told the Swedes which candy is the "good" candy, otherwise, I'd be skippin' their house.

Diva Ma said...

This couldn't be more precise!