OK - here is the party blog - I know you have all been on pins and needles waiting for it. I am having a hard time finding time to blog lately - the 'petit vacance scolaire' means I am on with all 3 kids pretty much 24/7 - this leaves not much time for blogging!
Anyway - the long story short of the party is that it was fabulous.
I am now going to ask many of you to reach back in your memories to that other fabulous party, 10 years ago now (can you believe it?), our wedding. Our wedding was really, really fun. I know that I am prejudiced in this opinion - but others over the years have confirmed this impression. André and I have formed an opinion about why this was so.
Indulge for a moment....
Do you remember, when you were a kid - maybe 9 or 10 and were finally old enough to go to your first big, fancy wedding? It was just so exciting - getting all dressed up, eating the food, dancing - the anticipation and energy just about bounced off you at this shindig. You had never seen such fun!
Well, André has 21 first cousins, and he is the oldest of them except for one. This family hails from the great state of Utah. When they heard he was getting married, they made the amazing choice to come out east for the wedding. (OK, it was probably really mostly to see NYC and DC, but it made for a great excuse!) Weddings, at the time, in the Mormon community, went something like this. You go to the temple with your closest friends and family to get sealed. Then you have a reception. The reception consists of the bride, groom and their immediate families suffering through several hours of standing on a recieving line whilst 200 to 400 of the people they know pass through. As a guest, you show up, wait on this line for an hour or two until you reach the guests of honor. You shake all their hands, kiss kiss, toss a $5 to $20 present into a pile, eat a piece of cake, and go home. Mormons invite, everyone, and I mean everyone, they have ever known. André's Grandma told me she's often recieved invitations from the kids of people whose kids were friends with her kids when they were kids. (got that?...it reminds me of the fight scene from Spaceballs, the movie:
Dark Helmet: Before you die there is something you should know about us, Lone Star.
Lone Starr: What?
Dark Helmet: I am your father's brother's nephew's cousin's former roommate.
Lone Starr: What's that make us?
Dark Helmet: Absolutely nothing! Which is what you are about to become.
(thanks to www.imdb.com/title/tt0094012/quotes) )
In other words, mormon receptions stink. After our wedding, when the other cousins began to get married, they all wanted parties like ours - music! decent food! dancing!!! Their parents probably curse our names to this day....
So, here come about 40 Mormons, young and old, to their first (forgive my prejudice here) real wedding. This is what made it such a blast, over half the people there were just having so much fun it gave the party a wonderful energy. We didn't even have booze!
This is how the pumpkin party was too. Here is this group of 23 people, 18 of them have never carved a pumpkin, never had pumpkin soup, pumpkin seeds or pumpkin bread and were just really excited and suprised by each new discovery. (again, there was no booze) These spiders guarded the stairwell - the one with 1000 legs is by Griffin
When everyone arrived, almost no one was in costume. I think they would be embarrassed to roam the streets in strange garb but they almost all got into the spirit with witches and ghosts being the most favorite picks. Olivier arrived as a knight (complete with chain mail) but later chose the peaceful path and went into a monk costume. We were, of course, in our own unique garb - André and I were yin and yang, Zander was Casper the friendly (but scary) ghost, Callie was a rainbow and Griffin was the most awesome - as his favorite colors pink and yellow. You can see some of his antics below - all the sewing on the costume was done by Zander - it is his new hobby and he is doing it quite amazingly well for a 7 year old I think!
My idea was to have lots of activities, to keep the masses happy and to cut the need to converse in French (not my strong point, as you know) to a minimum. We played witches' brew and had a haunted room in our house complete with a scary ghost (Zander) hiding in a trunk, body parts to touch and a leap through a monsters mouth out into the back yard. This project was mostly masterminded by Zander and Andre' on Saturday - but, unfortunately, the string they used to hold up the paper maze walls collapsed right before show time - we had to get some extra adult helpers to hold them up. We also had lots of scary thematic Halloween music playing. Only about 6 of the kids were even brave enough to walk through the room - but I'm pretty positive they'd never done anything like it before - they loved it!
Then we carved pumpkins - I had said on the invite to bring a keyhole saw - but most came with simple knives - they were pretty shocked to see me let Zander and Callie and Griffin have turns with this weapon (OK - Americans would have been too - but they have to learn sometime, right?) They followed our lead and seemed happy to carve and chop and many even got messy pulling out the pumpkin guts - the end results were dazzling - and drew many admirers from all around to see them.
We also played my favorite Halloween game from my own childhood - the (now banned in most countries due to paranoid parents and choking fear) lifesaver on a string game. You tie lifesavers (or, if you are in France where lifesavers can't be found, ring shaped gummy candies) to equal length threads and have the kids suck them into their mouths using no hands and not moving their heads. I clearly remember doing this, and bobbing for apples, while at the Ringwood firehouse halloween party as a kid. We also did a mummy game with toilet paper that was hysterical as it kept ripping. Then we tried assembling skeletons and played musical chairs. The kids and adults loved everything.
For dinner we had pumpkin and baked potato soups (needed real cheddar!), salad, and lots of creepy hors d'ouevres - people really liked the food (although I forgot to include forks and many of the guests were gamely reduced to eating salad with spoons) and Olivier even said 'Now I think that Americans can cook'. For me, that is as good as it gets! For dessert we had ghosts in the graveyard (a la frienddeb!) - the adults really thought this was gross - disgusting even and had a hard time eating it! Luckily there was also pumpkin bread. It seems that they don't eat pumpkin here so this was very novel!
It was probably the most fun I've had in France because people were just all laughing and playing together - words were not essential - kids wrapped up in toilet paper racing toward a finish line is fun in any language. Everyone left around 9pm and we all just about collapsed into our beds.
Love to all - Rebecca