Yes, I know I’ve been terribly negligent about my blog in past weeks. However, in my own defense, I have been through a Halloween party – moving to another neighborhood – birthday part sandwich that took up all my free time. All experiences I’ll be documenting here… but first, Halloween.
Halloween is not a Brazilian holiday. For those of you who are considering a move to Brazil, this is something to ponder if you, like me, have a particular fondness for the celebration of all that is creepy and scary and like getting yourself and your offspring dressed up in costumes. However, if you are moving to the city of Sao Paulo, it looks like things are looking up.
As my friend Ray and I discovered, Halloween has come to town. Walking the lanes of the infamous 25 de Março area just a few days prior to the holiday, we discovered that nearly every other shop was loaded up with Halloween goods – everything from candy eyeballs to a variety of costumes and all the necessary decorations needed in between. Hooray!
But the question remains for those internationals accustomed to a certain standard of Halloween holiday activity – what to do on the day? After piling on the horror gear, how does one celebrate in a land where trick-or-treating on the streets might get you in a bit of trouble?
There are options. Some schools, especially the international ones, do offer activities. However, my daughter’s Brazilian school does not – apparently some parents were concerned about “witchcraft” aspect of the events. (This, in a country whose oldest known religion, Candomblé, involves people being possessed by the dead… but whatever. Also see Who Do Voodoo? and Another Offering) The American Society of Sao Paulo puts on an annual Halloween Party with games and lots of candy. You also might find some community parties if you live in a gated condominium where the real monsters are safely kept out. Or, you can get a pile of internationals together and have your own gathering. Which is what we did.
Not wanting to deny our small ones the opportunity to engage in their own cultural celebration, a friend and I orchestrated a Halloween Playdate – complete with treats and games. While a crowd of kids let loose in costumes and filled with sugar turned out to be a bit chaotic, it was still a good time.
Little did we know during the planning process that 25 de Março was full of Halloween stuff, so most of what we had was either brought from the U.S. or constructed in our kitchens and on our dining room tables. (The rolls of toilet paper were not in preparation for what running in circles with a tummy full of candy and cupcakes might do to a child, but for a mummy wrap contest.)
So while you may have to create your own Halloween activities (in past years we actually even organized trick-or-treating in an apartment complex) you can now get your goods on the streets of Sao Paulo. Oh, but beware… this is what Rua 25 de Março looks like on a Saturday close to Halloween (maybe every Saturday, not sure)…
And I did see someone who had been shot in the head that day, so if you embark upon this adventure, stay safe.