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