Friday, October 30, 2015

5 Tips for Celebrating Halloween Overseas

"For some of us, Halloween is everyday" Tim Burton

In America the excitement is contagious, Halloween has been in the stores and supermarkets for a good month now.  You've had the opportunity to think about your costumes, decorations and of course, candy!  But what happens with Halloween when you are overseas?

Depending on your location, you could be on a Halloween-friendly country or not.  If you are not finding the enthusiasm Halloween deserves here are 5 places where to find it or where you could start a campaign for a new tradition.

1. If you have school age children, most likely Halloween will be celebrated at school in some way or form, a parade or a spooky party.  Who doesn't like to dress up and eat candy?  This is a great place to volunteer your Halloween cheer.  

2. Is work associated with an American/expat company or enterprise?  Offices can turn into great spaces for trick-o-treating.  Door decorating contest anyone?  Or each area could decorate their spaces with a different theme and let employee's children go around asking for candy.  It does take asking permission from top management, but it is a great opportunity to bring people together, so pitch your idea and start a new office tradition.

3.  Do you live in a building where there are other expats?  Maybe you can make the kids trick-or-treat around the building.  Or make a map of the Halloween-friendly houses in the neighborhood, grab a flash light and go get that candy!!

4.  Trunk-o-treat is another popular way to celebrate, with everyone decorating the trunk of their car and handing out candy.  You need to find an open space or parking lot, that's all.

5.  If everything fails and you are not finding the Halloween love around you, why not plan a private party at home?  If you and your children love dressing up, you can invite some friends and have a good time together.  

If you are trick-or-treating out in your neighborhood with the kids, try to avoid negativity by only knocking at the houses that are decorated.  Beware that the country where you live may be celebrating another holiday that same day (in Peru October 31st is the night of the creole song, half of the country celebrates Halloween and the other half goes to local music halls to celebrate their music).  I was greeted with not so friendly remarks a couple of times (don't take it personal, it's supposed to be a fun day for the kids, ignore and move on) but all an all have had good Halloween fun around the world.  

And remember... When witches go riding and black cats are seen, The moon laughs and whisper, 'Tis near Halloween.

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Dressing Like an Italian: Fall's Ultimate Accessory

“Wear that scarf," he said, pointing to a blue cashmere scarf hanging on a peg. "It matches your eyes." Cassandra Clare, City of Lost Souls

Fall is definitely here and in Italy the cooler weather is synonymous with scarves.  They come in all shapes and colors, are made of different materials and you can buy one as cheap as five euro.    A scarf adds a drop of style and a pop of color to your outfit and Italians wear them best.

Now, there is another reason why Italians use these wonderful scarves and it's called the "colpo d'aria" meaning a blast of air/wind.  And wind my friends can be a dangerous thing in Italy, at least for Italians.  Don't get me started with a blast of air conditioned breeze, that is deadly!  It is believed that if cool air hits your neck, you will certainly get sick or worse.  Hence, as soon as the weather starts getting colder women, men, kids...everyone! wears a scarf called "sciarpa" (pronounced: sharpa) in Italian.

How to use one you may ask?  There is the monochrome look, where you tend to stay in the color palette of your outfit.  There is also the pop of color, where you use a colorful scarf to add detail to a more serious outfit (read this to learn where else you can add color to your outfit).

I had a few scarves when I arrived in Italy but I have to confess that my collection grew while living in Rome.  A simple google search will show you a million ways of wearing this fall's ultimate accessory.  Go to your drawers, I'm sure you'll find one, and play with it.  Have fun with your outfit, life is too short to be too serious.

Enjoy the fall weather, the color on the leaves and the beautiful scarves!!

Arrivederci for now,