My four year old began the day as one of the cutest bumblebees you've ever seen (complete with sparkling antennas and all) and ended the celebrations as a cat in a swimsuit (removing the antennas and applying eyeliner whiskers instead). My two year old son growled "arrrrr" and shouted "ahoy" for the majority of the day running around in a fleece pirates costume (yup, he was a tad bit warm by about noon in Bangkok's 100 degree heat!).
While Halloween is celebrated within the bar crawling circle with scary costumes and half price specials, kids activities haven't yet found their way here. Some of the larger apartment buildings do provide trick or treating I was told, but in our area, we were left to happily manufacture a Halloween for the kids.
Mama objective number one: Give the kids a chance to show off their costumes. The day began with a trek to the local Starbucks and grocery store, in costume. The baristas left their posts, with a very long line of waiting customers, tried on the pirate hat and oohed and ahhed over the satiny striped bumblebee. The kids were quite a sight with everyone (and I do mean everyone) stopping to stare and comment.
Mama objective number two: Provide some familiar festive fun. After cooking up some caramel and dipping apples, both kids proudly delivered plates of Halloween caramel apples to our security guards and neighbors. Then we returned home to bob for apples on the balcony. For my kids, the combined opportunity to get soaking wet and eat apples was too exciting. We spent a good forty-five minutes before returning indoors to decorate their bedroom doors with a few more spooky spiderwebs.
Mama objective number three: Create a party. T returned home from work and quietly assembled a safari guy costume. Just a bit earlier, I snuck away to create a spooky dinner (glow in the dark ghosts gathered on the closed curtains, pumpkin candles flickered on the table, millions of Halloween rings scattered across the tabletop and mingled with other Halloween goodies sent by wonderful family members from the States, while spooky cobweb soup and grilled cheese ghost sandwiches awaited). Then, both in costumes, T and I led the kids to their party.
Mama objective number four: Trick or treat. Easy. T and I took turns hiding behind various doors in the house, the kids did their thing and after collecting way too many goodies they sat down to loot their booty. Our little pirate really got the hang of it this year, tearing into the candy before paying attention to the stickers and play dough.
Still in my "one tired puppy" costume, complete with dog ears, a tail and sleep mask, my daughter looked at me and provided commentary on her first Halloween in Bangkok. "I love you mama. This was my best Halloween ever. And, I mean, ever ever ever." Ahhh... another mission accomplished.
Cooking in Thailand, entry no. 21:
Requested by a reader, this recipe is for a condiment widely used in Thailand (and made differently from region to region). Firey hot, I'd recommend using this sauce sparingly until you develop a taste for it. Admittedly, not one of my favorite flavors, but one that my husband continuously requests more of when our fridge runs low.
8 cloves of garlic, finely minced
8 chili peppers, finely cut into small rounds
1 1/2 cups fish sauce
Juice of two limes
1 tablespoon palm sugar, optional
Add all ingredients to a jar that has an airtight cover (a canning jar works well). Seal and shake. Place in fridge for at least two days before serving. Will last for up to three months in the fridge. Serve over rice, noodles and meats as desired.