Halloween seems to have lasted forever this year. Or a week anyway.
It started a week ago, there was a party at the Irish bar in the Düsseldorf altstadt organised by the American Ladies Club (or whatever their title is). As Americans take Halloween far more seriously than the rest of the world we knew it would be a good party and it didn't disappoint.
Everyone, without exception was dressed up, from the mundane (green wig and weird mask) to the traditional (Blues Brothers) to the ridiculous (I'm not sure which was the most odd, the flock of six or so flamingos or the woman wearing a silver outfit that was supposedly an American football trophy)
When it came down to it though the traditional won, Julie dressed as a zombie, it was the eyes that did it, she'd got some spooky contact lenses from somewhere and whenever anyone asked for her photo she rolled her head to the side and just stared in a very undead dead way - perfect!
After the judging of the fancy dress the evening kind of went downhill, but in a good way...with karaoke. Fortunately (or maybe that should be unfortunately for those with sensitive ears) enough beer had been consumed by this point to loosen inhibitions, I have a vague recollection of singing something by the Spice Girls, and a far more firm memory of a friend murdering a Backstreet Boys number as her husband winced alongside me.
As I said, the party was in a bar, the rest of the bar was full of 'normal' punters who were quite bemused by the flamingos, showgirls and vampires that walked through the main bar to get to the loos - but I think we raised more eyebrows walking along the street to and from the car park, afterall it's not Karneval time yet.
Sunday was pumpkin carving time, I heard a report on the news that 90-95% of pumpkins sold are used for carving, I can believe that - in England & the U.S. however here? They tend to buy the pumpkins and display them whole...kind of looks like an arty display at a harvest festival, odd.
Wednesday itself was Halloween, Jas and her friends went out en masse, but so did most of the children. She complained that they didn't get much but I think that the concept of trick or treating here is still in its infancy and while the children 'get it' the older generation haven't got a clue. We had loads of kids turning up demanding sweeties, which was fine as I was well prepared, I have my trusty sweetie bowl (smuggled back from England about three years ago) and pumpkin lights for the window which date back to when we lived in England, then of course there were the pumpkins on the wall acting as beacons to all the little scroungers. But this year I took it one step further, I dressed up too, hooked, witchy nose, black witchy hat and cloak as well, the children weren't impressed. Clearly the unwritten and unread rules state that only those begging for sweeties are allowed to dress up and entertain themselves.
Meanwhile no. 1 son took himself off with a mate to cause mayhem with chinese firecrackers, having chosen not to go to the party they were invited to because some of the (13-14 year old) girls were intending to bring vodka so that they could get drunk the way they had at the party in the summer (at that party the parents of the girls had to be called to collect them as they were falling down drunk) Consequently I spent the evening giving away free sweets and praying not to get a call from the cops asking me to come and collect my hellraising son, whilst awaiting the call from Jas to go and collect her and her stash.