Halloween and other bootleg holidays

Bootleg is a word I tend to utilize a lot. As in, our 3 ft tall fake Christmas tree sure is bootleg. Or, that tiny chicken is my bootleg version of a delicious Thanksgiving dinner.  I’m reminded of my bootleggedness (yes, aware it’s not a word) when Halloween arrives and the official holiday season kicks off.

My Facebook feed becomes flooded with adorable pictures at the pumpkin patch and every kid I know, and some I don’t, are dressed up in a delightful costume of some sort.  I, on the other hand sit on the sidelines, unable to partake in any of the festivities. The  weeks leading up to Halloween are spent scouring every supermarket there is in search of anything pumpkin, bat, or witch related. Every toy store is picked over in search of a costume or something that would enable my kiddies to enjoy what their friends at home were enjoying.

Last year I had the foresight to buy costumes during a visit home

Every year I do this, so one would think that I’d finally understand that Halloween is just not celebrated out here. But nope, I am always hopeful that someone, somewhere will decide to carry pumpkins and costumes and scary looking candy. Not this year. I settled on a flower pot that I decorated with nail polish. They each received a mask as their costume, of course having no relation to anything that they actually wanted to be. My daughter was a random old lady and my son was a monkey. Now if that’s not the epitome of bootleg then I don’t know what is.

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He grabbed some bananas to complete the look

He grabbed some bananas to complete the look

While Halloween is the start of this bootleg holiday season, Thanksgiving is always the hardest because it revolves around food that we can’t get. There are no turkeys in Turkey, unless you’re lucky enough to have access to an American army base which is a dreamland of goodies. We were lucky enough to have a friend at the base in our city last year so we had the main components of a thanksgiving dinner. A turkey, cheddar cheese, stuffing, and cranberry sauce. What we have this year are sad little chickens and none of the fixings. I’m busy looking for recipes using non traditional ingredients as we speak so if anyone has been in my predicament and has some good recipes please send them my way!

I’m hoping to make up for it when Christmas finally arrives. There is enough of a Christian population to get us a boxed tree and a few decorations, and we’re never more than 3 hours away from an Ikea so we can always count on them for something generic for all our holiday needs. It’s nothing like the spectacular displays I see on TV, but I like to think that we’ve set the bar so low for the holidays that the kids are grateful for anything they get. Once we’ve settled back into life in the states they’ll be blown away by the smell of a real Christmas tree and lose their minds when they discover a gingerbread house. For now we’ll sit back and enjoy this bootleg holiday season.

3 Comments on “Halloween and other bootleg holidays

  1. First of all I want to say that I really like your blog. The things you described in here today seem very familiar to the things we are confronting in Russia! 😉
    One question: Did you find it that hard during your time in Germany as well? I am German and I was just wondering about it!

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    • Thanks Hanna! No Germany wasn’t too bad. We were able to get a real Christmas tree and they had turkeys so it made life much easier. I’m not sure if you’re familiar with the department store KaDeWe, but they had a small international food section and we were able to get fun things like pop tarts, candy canes, cake mix, and frosting. They also had an amazing cheese counter where I would get the cheddar I needed for my macaroni and cheese, everything was just really expensive there. The cheese alone would come out to almost 100 Euros so we couldn’t do that all the time, but beggars can’t be choosers so I was just happy to have some options.

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      • Glad to hear you found your way in Germany and of course KaDeWe is crazy expensive! Good luck in Turkey! 😉

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