Sunday, November 4, 2012

Halloween in Astana

Halloween isn't exactly a holiday that is celebrated here, although in the Mega mall, there was a sign advertising Halloween from 6 to 8 pm on the 31st.

Our school has a Fall Festival every year in October, and for most of the students, this is Halloween.  They get very excited in the weeks leading up to it, they arrive in costume (sometimes elaborately so), and they play games and get candy.  This year and last, the middle and high school put on an appropriately spooky haunted house.  (That is, it was quite spooky and well-done, but not really scary, which is appropriate considering the small children who went through it.)

The American Embassy had some Halloween event, but as far as I know, people outside the embassy weren't invited.  Highvill, an apartment complex catering to foreigners, also hosted a Halloween event.

This year another embassy hosted a Halloween party that I was invited to.  I invited two friends, found a babysitter for Sophia, and then focused on figuring out costumes.  I've never actually been to a Halloween party before!

My friend A. came over a few hours early to do my make-up.  Over the summer, I'd found a dress at a vintage store that looked very much like a prairie girl dress, and I'd worn this to the Fall Festival.  To be more spooky, A. made me look like a zombie (zombie prairie girl!).  She painted a spider's web on her face, dressed in black, and called herself a black widow.  Y. wore a fancy Bollywood-style outfit that I had bought for Sophia.  (Yes, Sophia's the same size as some grown-ups.)

We hailed a cab from the street, and wondered what the driver must have thought of us!  (Especially me!)

The party was what you would expect from a Halloween party--a large, spooky house with cobwebs, skeletons, a coffin, and even a severed talking head on the table!  Everyone was dressed up, and you could tell that lots of people had to scramble for ideas, since there really isn't a Halloween costume shop in Astana.  Costumes do go on sale around New Year's, since people dress up then, but they aren't very spooky.  There was lots of elaborate scary make-up, giving A. ideas for next year.

Overall, it was great fun, and I enjoyed showing my friends what Halloween is like.  We're already thinking about next year!

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