I never was one to really celebrate Halloween at home. It’s not like I hid from trick-or-treaters with the lights off, but I never quite got into the costume thing, especially as an adult.  But being an American abroad, Halloween is something cultural to share.

Last year, at my primary assignment we carved a few pumpkins.  This year, it’s a Halloween extravaganza – 7 pumpkins for 15 beneficiaries. Today, pumpkin seeds will be roasted in the oven.  Next week there will be face-painting.

David and I decided to do a Halloween lesson with Emi & Mada, teaching vocabulary as we carved. After the carving, there was Halloween Bingo to solidify the vocabulary.  It was great fun.

To top off Halloween, David and I took an overnight train down to Bucharest for Ovidiu Rom’s annual Halloween Ball at the People’s Palace. Ovidiu Rom has a bit of star-power — Ethan Hawke’s mom leads the NGO and Nicolas Cage made an appearance at the ball.  Their current goal is lofty – to get EVERY kid in kindergarten. But believing in that mission, David and I volunteered to help out at the ball. We had a mixed experience. The People’s Palace (or now it’s known as Parliamentary Palace) was gorgeous, extravagant and unbelievably huge. As it was a beautiful Saturday, we decided to walk around it.  Three miles later, we were still trudging around the building.

The ball itself was impressive — lots of press, fancy ball gowns, diplomats, dignitaries and of course, Domnul Nicolas Cage with his family. As volunteers at the event, there was more sitting than doing and to be honest a bit more organization would have been beneficial.  But that’s all forgiven as we got to hang out with a few of the newer volunteers and meet some Romanian folks.

To top it all off, back at our apartment, we had a handful of kids from our block with bandanas and sunglasses knock on our door and yell: Halloween Fericit! We reluctantly shared some Reese’s Peanut Cups and then there was an awkward moment – they didn’t know what to do and neither did David.  Did they come in? Did they go? Was there more candy? Finally someone broke the awkwardness with a “La revedere” and off the little monsters went into the night.