Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Halloween 2016

I love Halloween. It's my favorite holiday. Every holiday is my favorite holiday. I don't know. Don't make me choose a favorite holiday. Who even brought this up in the first place?

I like Halloween because the decorations are cool, and dressing up is fun. Every year, I have huge expectations for what I'm going to do, wear, eat, craft, and decorate. I usually only accomplish a third of my plans, which turns out to be a good thing. I have years of prospective Halloween ideas. 

If you've been paying attention, I've made regular rants against Greece for its failure to embrace Halloween. I saw encouraging signs this year. Our Greek neighbors had Halloween decorations on their door. I was wished a Happy Halloween by our gardener. Jumbo, the Greek equivalent of Big Lots, had a small Halloween section. In fairness to the country, probably all of this was going on last year, too, but I was too sick to get off the couch and experience any of it. 

This year, I got off the couch and started decorating in early October, after the HVAC specialists ripped apart and reassembled our ceiling. For the most part, I'm satisfied with my efforts. There were a few disappointments. I've been wanting to make cheesecloth ghost decorations for years. I finally did this year, but didn't have enough time to figure out how to display them. So, once again, the cheesecloth ghosts will be filed to "Prospective Halloween." It also took me a lot longer to get my Halloween crafting supplies than I'd expected. My plastic bats just barely arrived last Thursday.

Another annual failure is my repeated declaration that I'll host a big Halloween party, and my inevitable failure to follow through. I got closer this year. I made enough dessert for a big party, but I kept vacillating on whether to invite a bunch of people or not. In the end, it didn't happen. I have a giant Halloween trifle in my fridge that is no longer seasonally appropriate to eat. 

Last night, we attended a Halloween party for the embassy community. Each working section of the embassy was assigned a table to decorate for trick or treating kids. At the end of the night, the kids voted for their favorite table. Winners get a pizza party, so it was stiff competition. 

Last year at the same event, Phil's section came in second with a Ghostbusters Nerf gun shooting range theme. They should have won, but lost out to a table with a make-your-own-dessert component. This year, they returned for vengeance. One of my friends, the wife of Phil's coworker, spent hours with Pinterest, spray paint, and her Cricut machine to create a pirate table. We had cookie decorating, walk the plank/Captain Hook's ring toss game, and a treasure chest full of gold candies. We found pirate music on YouTube, and hooked it up to a speaker. We bought chains, swords, skulls, and other beautifully helpful decorations from Jumbo. We spent more time on that stupid table than the crappy pizza party warranted, but gosh darn it if we didn't carry away the laurels of the evening.

That's right, Phil's section won the pizza party.

We didn't take any photos of the embassy party, but I do have pictures of plenty of other things. I know you're dying for me to shut up so you can see them, but the joke's on you, because you could have scrolled down at any time without listening to me talk endlessly through writing.

This year's pumpkin. A rush job, since it was already 9pm on Halloween. The theme is Harry and Voldy: A Duel.

I'm trying something new with my pumpkin this year. I cut giant chunks out of the back to use for pumpkin desserts. I have no idea if it's going to work. I think typically people use smaller pumpkins specifically grown for eating. Will let you know.

I saw these bats on Pinterest. I wasn't going to do them, but, heck, I had the cardstock and the wall tape.

Making use of my old decorations, my purple lights, and my limited wall outlets. 

You can't see the grubby Kid prints from this angle. He loves his mirror self.

The layers of my trifle. I really put some effort into this. Homemade chocolate dirt. Homemade chocolate pudding. Homemade chocolate mousse. Homemade worms. I'm simultaneously proud and annoyed, because what was the point?!

A top view of the worms. They're jello and cream, set in straws. Very good.

Monster cookies. It's a basic dough, dyed green, with candy eyes shoved in the warm cookie.

The entry table, with my two cards from last year.

The fireplace scene, lit, with Black Lagoon underneath.

Bella's Halloween shirt, from Kate.

Halloween wreath. I kept it simple, because I didn't know if the Greeks would know what was going on. It turns out they do. If only we were going to be here next year. I could gore it up significantly.

These could use some cheesecloth ghost friends. If only.

If I'd had a party, drinks or desserts would have gone on this table. Probably drinks, because of the bottles, but I had another idea for drinks that wouldn't have fit here. So many wasted ideas. 

The dining room, with the late-arriving bats.

I am massively proud of this tree. I've been wanting to do a "holiday" tree for a long time, and I finally ordered the plaster of paris and did it. The plaster of pairs split open and coated all the other crafting supplies in the box, but it was (sort of) worth it. The other really cool thing about this is that the "tree" is a branch I found on the ground at the 2004 Olympic complex here in Athens. Cool souvenir. 

The coffee table, candy inside.

My pirate costume. All I did was cut out a piece of felt, paint it with brown acrylic, and safety pin it to the beanie. The shirt was an old thing that I quickly painted with blue acrylic. Easy.
I look like my dad with this beard. It's a good look. 

Until next year, Halloween. 

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