Our Halloween did not go quite as planned.

A week before the embassy shindig we met up with some other Americans to carve pumpkins. Yes, you can find pumpkins in Benin, and if you look long and hard enough you can even find ones that aren’t brown and oblong shaped.

In the U.S., at least in the chilly Midwest, a carved pumpkin would certain survive a week out on a front porch. We knew better than that here, though, so we kept our pumpkins inside our heavily A/C-ed house. Just two days later, though, they were already starting to mold. So we scooped out all the mold and moved them to the freezer. When we took them out the day of the Halloween festivities they were unexpectedly ghostlike.


Luckily the frost melted away. By the time we moved them to the porch and lit some candles inside, they looked like perfect American jack-0-lanterns. We headed out trick-or-treating with the gang. When we looped back for the stop at our house an hour later the pumpkins had literally melted to the ground like candle wax. Oops. That was Halloween fail #1.

Unfortunately there was also a Halloween fail #2.

Flynn is obsessed with our dog Abbey, so I spent hours upon hours searching the interwebs for the toddler dog costume that most resembled our curmudgeonly beagle. At long last I found one (and we thought of a cute idea for Andy and me too). I placed the order on October 1. Plenty of time, right?

Wrong. First of all, the embassy festivities originally planned for October 27 were moved up to October 20. Still, there was a chance mail would arrive in time. But… of course it didn’t. And so it was that day before “Halloween” and we were costume-less.

After searching Flynn’s room for inspiration we found a costume his grandma had picked up at last year’s after Halloween sales. Unfortunately it was a monkey, and Andy has an irrational hatred for all things monkey. (He would argue that it’s rational: he doesn’t think kids should be called “monkey,” as many are, because it encourages mischievous behavior.)

But you take what you can get when it’s a day before Halloween and you live in a country where no one celebrates Halloween. A monkey he would be.

No Abbey, that is not a real banana.

But now, what about us? We’d come up with the perfect accompanying costumes for Flynn’s beagle get-up. I can’t tell you what because we very well may try to use the whole thing next year, but let’s just say it was the perfect combination of fun and clever and also pretty much no work, which is what we go for in the costume departure.

To accompany my monkey I decided I’d be a banana, mostly because it seemed like very little work as I had plenty of yellow clothes already. With no better ideas, Andy reluctantly agreed to be a banana too, but having no yellow clothes himself and refusing to wear mine, he sent our housekeeping off on an expedition to buy whatever  yellow menswear he could find in the market. Amazingly, he came back with some stuff.

Though the banana get-up was ready, Andy decided on a better idea. That day we’d visited a water bottling plant for work, and to tour the factory they’d made us dress up in some quite interesting attire. With it, our trifecta was complete:

Primate researcher, monkey, and banana.

Maybe not such a Halloween fail after all.

Doing a very important monkey experiment.

All costumed up, we headed off to join the 20 something other trick or treaters the embassy wrangled up (mostly European expat kids who didn’t know much about Halloween but heard about the free candy thing and said sure). Then we all caravanned off on our trick or treating route.

Hello there big kids.

I really truly thought Flynn was going to love trick or treating. First of all, thanks to his last trip to grandma’s, he has quite the sweet tooth and is not shy about asking for cookies, which to him means anything sugary and nutritionally bad. Second of all, he’s going through that phase where he’s obsessed with putting things in containers. Candy that goes in a bucket? What’s not to like?

But maybe because the whole thing fell a little too close to bedtime, he was just not having it.

Mom's tired monkey.

When we got to our house on the trick or treating route we left Flynn with his nanny and proceeded to the after party ourselves. Our costumes  took some explaining without the monkey.

Flynn got more into the Halloween spirit the next day, when he carried around his candy bucket everywhere he went and screamed and whined until we finally broke down and let him eat one Tootsie pop, which he thoroughly enjoyed.

Oh, and the beagle costume? Of course it arrived on Monday.

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4 Responses to halloween

  1. Dani says:

    I love that photo of you and Flynn! That is just precious! We have trick-or-treating here on Wednesday and I’m trying to figure out how many houses we can bring Will too before it’s just completely obvious that we’re going to be the only ones eating the candy. I’m mostly kidding, sort of… 🙂

  2. Daniela says:

    The costumes turned out maavelous! I love the idea. Now you got me all curious about your next year’s set of costumes. We have split trick-or-treating this year. Nia’s trick-or-treating on the compound in Delhi and we are hoping to go to a Halloween party here in our Oakwood, provided we have power…

  3. Anne says:

    You are very clever! I love what you guys came up with, and last minute at that!!

  4. janelle says:

    I stumbled across your blog while perusing other FS blogs. I think we might be each other’s doppelganger family! lol Seriously. My son, who is the same age and named Finn, dressed up like an elephant for Halloween, my husband was a zoo keeper, and I was a peanut. When I saw this post I thought I might be looking at us in an alternate life! Anyway, love the costumes and email me if you want to see our version (I don’t have a blog of my own).

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