30 October 2013

Prepping for Halloween in Dutch (Kind of...)

Tomorrow is Halloween, which isn't really a big deal here in the Netherlands. I've been told that it's gaining popularity over the last few years, and you can find Halloween decorations and candies, but it's definitely not what it is in North America. There isn't really any trick-or-treating, and even though the stores are selling Halloween stuff, they're really focused on Sinterklaas decor.

We didn't really acknowledge or do anything with Halloween last year, but this year we're celebrating with our expat club with a Halloween party for the kids. My friend Farrah from The Three Under is the organizer for the party, and she's designated me as co-chair for the event. Which is today. So we'll be busy a bit later today.

It will be a good time, including some Halloween stories from Curious George and Arthur, games, crafts, and candy (of course). I'm in charge of the games, and I wanted to share my recent wave of genius. I went to the local grocery store, which often puts out the cardboard boxes for customers to take after stocking the shelves, and grabbed two cardboard boxes left over from the mandarin oranges. I used a utility knife to cut a large hole in each box for bag toss games, and then covered the box with colored computer paper to make the bag toss Halloween themed (those years of making classroom bulletin boards really paid off here). I went for silly monster and jack-o-lantern, but the possibilities are nearly endless. I was thinking about making a bat with an open mouth and wings hanging off, but I didn't have any black paper. Maybe next year.

Halloween bag toss creatures - Jack-o-lantern and monster


In a second wave of genius, I realized that these would also make great Halloween candy dispensers. Just putting candy in the bottom of the box and having trick-or-treaters stick their hands in to pick out a candy. If Halloween ends up taking off here, I've got this plan locked away for future use.

Or a Halloween candy dispenser!


If you need a last-minute Halloween game idea, or if you want to surprise your trick-or-treaters, give this a try. They were easy to do, they cost basically nothing but supplies I already had (or got for free), and it will be fun for the kids. So, voila!

Do you have fun tips for celebrating Halloween either at home or abroad? 

12 comments:

  1. So cute, I love the colors for the paper that you chose!! Looks like there won't be much halloween celebrating on the day of here, though maybe the kids in the skating lessons I'll be teaching tomorrow evening might be dressed up in some small way? Guess I'll find out! While I dressed up for work for the day day last year, there's no way I will tomorrow without knowing what everyone else is doing... I imagine that would go a bit like this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fE3N5Irk3xE

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  2. I remember the expat Halloween parties in France - I think one year, we might have been the only Americans there! We couldn't find pumpkins to carve (I think we carved a squash one year?), special little decorations like napkins and banners were mailed from the US, and costumes were all handmade - not necessarily a bad thing! Happy Halloween!!!

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  3. LOL, that is one of the better Office moments. I'm going to go ahead and assume no one will dress up. Some areas with a lot of North American or UK expats will embrace it more, but even then it's pretty limited. It would be nice to see the kids do it, though!

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  4. That's so funny! We had a good pumpkin for carving last year, but it stayed in the garden and Little Man played with it. You can buy decorations and things from certain stores, but it's not found everywhere like in the States. The kids still came out of the party today with a good candy haul, though. =) Enjoy your trick or treating!

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  5. Happy Halloween. I have never celebrated this, and don't imagine I ever will. But this arts and crafts was such a great idea - very clever.

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  6. Awww! Sounds fun! Hope you had a great time and LM had a great Halloween!

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  7. We've never been big Halloween people, but it's fun to see the kids get excited. And LM doesn't like too many sweets, so I would get most of the candy from trick or treating.

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  8. Thanks! We just did the expat club party, and that was good. Fun and candy, and then we weren't on Halloween overload, which was a nice change of pace. Did you do something with the little guy?

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  9. We did! It was a last minute thing but some friends in the military took us on base for his first trick or treat. :-) He wasn't too interested but it was still fun.

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  10. LOL, nice! I think the first few years it's really more for the parents. Once they catch the sweet tooth, though...

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  11. Hello, been checking your blog now and then, and this post about the Dutch people not going out for tricking and treating stuck with me: We might not celebrate Halloween, but a large part of the Netherlands celebrates 11 november: Sint Maarten. (Although it depends in in which part you're living). Kids go out with lanterns and sing songs and they get candy for it, basically the same as halloween only without the creepiness and with songs ;) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/St._Martin's_Day

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  12. Hi Amhil, thanks for your comment and the link! Sint Maarten's Day isn't celebrated in Noord Brabant, so I didn't realize there were treats involved with the lanterns (though I found out yesterday that Albert Heijn is taking advantage of the holiday to put candy on sale) - thanks for clarifying that! Knowing that, it does seem very similar to Halloween trick or treating in the US, though thankfully without the threats of minor vandalism to your property. ;)
    Thanks for the extra information!

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