Friday, October 31, 2014

Halloween in New Zealand

We just got back from taking Paisley trick-or-treating here in Auckland! [Well, we were when I wrote this post.  Now that I am posting this, it is 1 November here, but still Halloween in the US.]

We were not really sure what to expect, but here is the report:

About 1 out of every 4 houses in our neighborhood was passing out candy.

Houses that are celebrating Halloween usually do something to decorate so that you know to stop at their house: almost all have cobwebs out on the bushes by the sidewalk.  Some have skeleton decorations, or fake rodents in the yard.  Some people scatter fake limbs around their walkway or the front door. Note: we decorated our door with a big banner and spooky characters on the windows and I think a lot of trick-or-treaters skipped our house because there were no webs on the bushes.  I even bought webs, but didn't put them up because I didn't get to it.  I didn't realize it was so important.

Some of the houses did not decorate, and then it seemed like they would come outside so that people knew they could go to those houses.

A few houses had signs up to let people know they were not participating.

Most of the houses just had the webs or simple decorations but a couple houses that we went to were more elaborate.  One of the houses had a lady open the door as a scary nurse, and she had it so there was a bed with a life-size patient with a fork in his eye and there was a whole little medical scene going on behind her, as if you'd caught her busy with her situation.  Another house had a giant face on the front of the house.  There were a couple houses where parents were kind of congregating and having drinks together out in the front yard.  We didn't participate in that, but as we walked past they invited us to come up so Paisley could trick or treat right there in the front yard and someone brought up a box of candy.

Kids do say "trick-or-treat!" when they go up to the door here.  The interaction is pretty similar to in the United States; they often told Paisley she was cute.  A few people correctly identified Paisley as Elsa from Frozen.  One person asked if she was a fairy.  Some of the people were friendlier than you would normally find in the United States, asking us how we were doing, or having a little conversation with us. 

Almost all of the houses pass out bulk-type candy, and they often let kids take 2 or 3.  Paisley got one Twix and a couple Cadburry chocolates, a few suckers, and a bunch of little chewy or hard candies, plus a few unwrapped type candies. To be fair, I think one or two other houses had some "good" candies but they let Paisley pick what she wanted and she chose the bulk-type candies.  I saw some kids who had gotten ring pops somewhere and I wished we would have found that house because we were not planning to let Paisley eat many of her candies, but I think she would have enjoyed that.  That's okay.

Of the kids that we saw out trick-or-treating, most were in scary type costumes: skeletons, scary masks, devils, bloody stuff, witches.  Some were in other types of costumes: two kids came to our door as Thing 1 and Thing 2, we saw a girl dressed as Pikachu, and there were some kids with bunny ears or animal costumes like that.  We saw a little kid that was a Tigger, and one boy that was a ninja turtle.  Our biggest surprise was, we saw about 200 kids while we were out and all night we did not see any other Elsa costumes, or even any Frozen costumes at all.  Only in New Zealand would you have an evening full of trick-or-treaters and not see any other Elsa costumes at all!

We had a lot of fun.  Paisley got to be pretty good at trick-or-treating.  We went to the houses in our cul-de-sac and then part of the street around the corner from us.  We watched for "spooky houses" (aka. decorated houses) and then she went up to the front door and kept knocking until they opened.  Then she said "trick or treat!" and put candy in her bag and said "thank you" and sometimes said "Happy Halloween!"  Some of the people thought she was little to be trick-or-treating, so they thought it was really adorable when she said the right things.

We decided to let her keep two of her candies to eat.  She was fine with that.  At first she was choosing the bulk-type candies, so I pointed out that she did have chocolate, since I know she loves chocolate and thought she would enjoy having some that was her very own.  After I told her she had chocolate, she wanted that.  She really enjoyed those and made a big mess of them, dripping all over her clothes.

Then, when other kids came to our door after we got home she wanted to go trick-or-treating again.  She liked standing on the porch and knocking so that I could open and say "Hello?" and she would say "Trick or treat!" and I would hand her a candy, she thanked me, and I would say "Happy Halloween!" and close the door.  Then she would knock again and I would open the door and take the candy back, and then she would knock again to repeat the whole thing.

Happy Halloween!