Any reason to party?
Back in the states Halloween was a pretty big deal. In fact, if I recall correctly, the very first date Tra and I ever went on was near that very holiday, at a harvest fest type of event. I recall having to be prepared every Halloween for the slew of kids to come parading through the neighborhood. With every open door a shot of cold air would rush across our skin, and handfuls of candy would be dropped in the bags of ghouls, ghosts, goblins and ???. In Costa Rica there is no Halloween. Perhaps it is because they have a plethora of other holidays, or perhaps it is because it was created by the candy moguls in America, or perhaps it is because chocolate can be very hard to come by for the locals. Either way we didn’t expect much of anything, we were wrong.
There is a pretty large contingent of Ex-Pats in this area, and they hold on to their American / Canadian traditions very strongly, as we are quickly learning. If there is a slight reason to celebrate or party, they will gather in droves. Superbowl, Thanksgiving, Halloween, Columbus Day, doesn’t matter, if it connects them to home, they embrace it. Halloween, other than being a floating holiday is no different.
In the area we live there are three primary english schools, La Paz, Country Day, and Gold Coast Academy. All three private schools, all full of Americans, Canadians and French ( don’t ask me). All three of them held festivities on Friday night.
Our evening began right at sunset; humidity still thick in the air, the hot night air enveloping those in monkey suits, ghost sheets and more. I saw more sweat stains than at a July jalapeno chili bake in Texas. We hit La Paz first, the school had a special area for candy gathering, and it seems every english speaking kid in the country was there, adding to the humidity. As we weaved our way through the blue mat maze of on-air conditioned classrooms, we were met by princess’s, gold people, Lego’s and many more homemade costumes. There is no Wal-Mart, so creativity had to be high. Although sheer torture for the camera wielding adults caught in the never-ending snake of children, it was fun for the kids as their bags weighed down under the girth of the mixed tico candy. The school also had a small haunted house, and a gym full of games for the kiddos with prizes and awards. To top it off they had a bake sale and hamburgers and hotdogs off the grill. It was an all out event that required traffic control and parking on an empty over grown lot next to the school.
Next we made our way to Country Day School, where they had a similar event going on. However, their highlight was the haunted house, and that is what we set our sights on, at least those of us brave enough to endure the close tight humid quarters. As we made our way through the draping of dark plastic we were assaulted by every creature imaginable from every angle, our feet, our heads, straight on, they were everywhere, and it appears that they were heavily dehydrated. It was a fun adventure with blue lights, water , at least we hope it was water, and much more. And talking to some of the creatures afterward, it was labor intensive, hot and draining, but they did not complain, instead they did their best to elicit screams and cries, and I am sure I heard a few, even from within our own party. Again, there were games for the kids, bake sales and some BBQ pork sandwiches. Lots of decorations, and balloons that were getting heavily assaulted by anyone under 4 foot tall.
We finished the evening as chaperones at the Freaky Tiki, and event semi-coordinated by Alli as the event planner for her school. The event was made for the older kids as a costume dance event. Now I don’t know what qualifies as a good dance, but if it is a bloody red pool and fountain, lots of sweaty kids dancing all together, loud never-ending music, pizza and very loud never-ending music, then this was a successful dance. Again, it seems every english speaking kid from every local school was there. Apparently things have changed form when I used to go to dances. In my day you asked a girl to dance, you went out to the floor together and danced next to your buds, making funny faces and did your best to be cool. What we witnessed was just a glob of people all dancing together. I never did see two people dancing. The smallest group was six. However, I could’ve been hallucinating because between the unbearable thumping, heat, strobe light, and extra curricular lightning storm, I am not totally sure what we witnessed. But I am pretty sure there were no nefarious on goings nor any grinding going on during our watch! The dance went from 7-11 and was thumping the whole time.
I have never been so exhausted after a Halloween night. I am convinced that we met every Ex-Pat in the area on that Friday night, even the ones without kids. And the best part, Halloween is tonight. I have no idea what to expect, but we will be prepared with some melted chocolates for our little prettys, just in case. Can’t wait to see what Thanksgiving will be like. I plan to get a nap before that one.