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Halloween is just not a big thing in continental Europe, not like it is in the States, though it originated in Britain. It's always been one of my favorite holidays, though I'd be hard put to describe exactly why I like it better than, say, Christmas, which is admittedly a close runner-up. There's just always been something magical about it, and maybe it's just because I like cats and the color orange and full moons and pumpkin pie. Maybe it's because it falls in autumn, my favorite time of the year.

After 10+ years in Sweden, where Halloween is pretty much derided as an American upstart that is barging in where its not wanted (mostly due to the fact that it gets mixed up with and occasionally even steps on the toes of All Saints Day, which really offends a lot of (at least) older Swedes), I've gotten used to not having Halloween be the ubiquitious presence in every neighborhood and shop that it is in America. It IS creeping in slowly, a little more each year, but it will be a long time, if ever, before it reaches the kind of celebratory proportions it enjoys in my homeland.

Last year, Tivoli Gardens & Amusement Park in Copenhagen ran a week of Halloween festivities for the first time and my friend Debbie reported that they had done a super job. We weren't able to go then, so I was determined to make it there this year, and when yesterday dawned bright and clear and COLD, we packed up the kids with extra fleeces and headed over the Öresund yesterday afternoon. The entire park was rigged up like a pumpkin farm—they were EVERYWHERE. I've never seen so many pumpkins in my life, both whole and carved, not even at the pumpkin farm we visited a few weeks ago. Some little cottages had roofs entirely covered with pumpkins. Some were entirely covered with flowering orange and yellow nasturtiums, too, which was lovely.

There was white webby batting draped over everything in sight and giant fake spiders of all shapes and colors in strategic spots. Park employees were in costume and the menus in the restaurants had been updated with Halloweenie flavors like fried potatoes shaped like pumpkins, ghosts and skulls. Even the cotton candy was in the spirit, coming in orange and a cobwebby-looking grey (which looked really gross, to be honest). They even re-painted the carousel in Halloween themes! There was a pumpkin-carving station and a huge haybale maze, and all the rides were open to the public. The only thing missing was the haunted house that used to be there several years ago. I was kind of surprised they hadn't revived it at least for this one week of the year.

Jack Pumpkinhead Greets You and Welcomes You to View the Halloween at Tivoli Photo Album!*

The kids went on as many of the rides as they could cram in, and even though the park was swarming with people, they never had to wait more than a few minutes in line, often being able to just run from the exit right back around to get on again, while Anders and I stood and waited, shivering in the cold. We stayed until late evening, with the lights twinkling in the trees around us and the cheery glow of the jack-o-lantern heads all around us in the dark.

Now we're looking forward to the rest of the Halloween celebrations that are coming up so soon. The kids and I will write up, print out, and deliver trick-or-treating letters to the neighborhood for the 2nd year in a row and the AWC party is 2 weeks away. It's being held at a giant indoor playplace this year and there are over 80 people signed up! Before then we'll carve the 2 giant pumpkins that are waiting in the garage and we've begun discussing costume choices. Martin has a rather elaborate idea which will take some creative construction and Karin is waffling between zombie karate kid and skeleton hockey player.

And just in case you think that I have Halloween on the brain, the only Halloween thoughts I had today, other than writing this post and editing the photos, were to hang one decoration outside the front door. The rest of my Sunday was spent playing cutthroat Scrabulous on Facebook, doing endless loads of laundry, cleaning the bathroom from top to bottom, dusting the entire house and vacuuming it as well. Whew! I need another weekend just to relax!

*All photos taken by Anders Ek
mood: accomplished
music: me laughing my head off at the great costume idea I just found online


Your post made me smile- I love Karin's costume ideas!

halloween always starts a small bit of homesickness for me here in stockholm. there is nothing going on. glad to see you guys had such a nice day! (was the link supposed to take me to an album?) very cool to hear about the costumes and about the upcoming plans! i hope the entire neighborhood joins in!

It's creeping in here, so I'm sure in the next 10 years it will slowly creep further north...not that it helps your homesickness now! And yes, ARGH, it was supposed to take you to a picture gallery. Thanks for catching that, I've fixed the link now.

i saw them. wow... could be anywhere in the states... wow.

There's been a lack of pumpkins here in Stockholm. Not sure if it's a weather thing or not. At least at the regular stores.I not only want to carve one, but make some pumpkin soup! Boo-hoo!

We heard it was a terrible year for pumpkins down here (though it's hard to tell that if you go to Tivoli), because of all the rain.


Sure did enjoy the photos- sounds like a fun time at Tivoli. I should get a pumpkin for my yard! What was the costume idea that made you laugh? Love, Lizardmom

can't tell yet, I might use it. :)

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lizardek's obiter photos
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I can complain because rose bushes have thorns or rejoice because thorn bushes have roses.

Abraham Lincoln

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