This week is Halloween, which is a lovely American tradition. Although I did go to the occasional Halloween party in the Netherlands over the past couple of years, I have never before experienced such enthusiasm and fervor in relation to this particular holiday. For the Dutch amongst us: the scale of this tradition is a little smaller but still of comparable size to Sinterklaas back home (when the time is here I will expand upon this very peculiar Dutch tradition).
Being here in the U.S., I threw myself into the Halloween celebrations. Last Wednesday, I bought an enormous and quite heavy pumpkin and went to a pumpkin carving party (yes they exist, just like presidential debate watch parties). Quite an aggressive enterprise, since you’re carving out an enormous piece of fruit that has quite a thick skin, with juices oozing out of it and a mess of seeds and threads everywhere. I could literally find pumpkin all over my upper body, with most of the stuffing ending up in my hair. But what are showers for if not to clean up? It was a lot of fun and I was quite satisfied with the result.
This was not the end of the Halloween experience. On Friday, my friends and I went shopping for a Halloween costume. In the end we settled for simple costumes, since we won’t be able to bring everything back home in December anyway. Nevertheless, I think we looked quite witchy and Halloween-appropriate.
The time of our costumes’ inauguration came on Saturday evening. We had booked tickets to the Crime and Punishment Museum here in D.C., which had been transformed into a haunted house for the occasion. This is where culture shock stepped in. I can honestly say that I do not understand what the fun is in being chased by people in masks with chain saws and genuinely frightening outfits. It took us about twenty minutes to do the haunted house tour, and by the end of it I was ready to have a drink. Of course we went for one, so I ordered my first ever cocktail in the United States (except it was a mocktail, since I am still under twenty-one). Anyway, it was relaxing to sit back and enjoy downtown DC for a bit by watching all the people walk by that were dressed up either really funny or really indecent.
Halloween weekend passed by so quickly – but the celebrations are not over yet. Perhaps this week we will go trick-or-treating at the embassies – one of the perks of living in D.C. In addition, there is a drag queen race being organized that we would like to go watch. However, I still have some midterms to study for, and more importantly, hurricane Sandy is quickly approaching D.C., so there is the chance that everything will get cancelled. My roommates and myself are now preparing for that by stocking up on food and bottled water – there is a fair chance the power and water supply will be shut down. Hopefully Sandy will be merciful and let the Halloween-celebrations proceed. I cast my spell and am hoping for the best. Witchy greetings to all folks out there!