An Interesting Halloween

Wow – I don’t even really know where to begin! I had my mom send us a Halloween costume  for Elizabeth so that she could dress up on her first Halloween. But up until this last week I thought we might just get her dressed up and go to our friend’s house to trick-or-treat. No one here celebrates Halloween, so I thought it would just be us few Americans doing something really small for the kids. Boy did I turn out to be wrong!

Elizabeth in her costume:


Kelli (another American at language school with us here in Bandung) has two little boys and she found out about a costume contest that was going to happen on Halloween day at one of the bigger malls here in Bandung.  She registered Uriah, her 4 year old, as Spiderman and Elizabeth as a fairy. I got really excited that we would have something more to do and that she would get to be with other kids and dress up for Halloween! They said that it started at 2 o’clock. We got there right about then and then Kelli said that she found out that the opening ceremonies started then and the actual contest didn’t start until closer to 3. So… we hung out at Starbucks and waited – we’ve gotten really used to waiting for things here because it is very cultural to run late by at least an hour. This of course, was all during Elizabeth’s normal nap time, but she was a real trooper!


There were 15 kids in the baby to 4 year-old category. They marched all the kids out on the stage, and I couldn’t believe how huge the crowd was. It was a madhouse. After that each kid got a turn to display their costume.  Some of the little girls had hand-made costumes and strutted around the stage like beauty pageant contestants. One even had to be asked to leave the stage because she wouldn’t stop posing! In the end, I think that this is what the judges were looking for, because those little girls won the contest.

Elizabeth did great and was a real crowd favorite. Of course, she is a little white baby with blonde hair – a real standout here in Asia! TONS and TONS of people took pictures and afterward asked to have their picture taken with her. After a while I had to run away and hide! The other babies in the category were dressed as a bumble-bee and a little panda. They were really cute too!


After the contest we waited some more for what we thought would be the results, but it turned out that at 4:00 they started taking the kids trick-or-treating to the different stores in the mall. We even got treats from Starbucks and Pizza Hut! As I did NOT remember to bring the stroller, my arm still hurts today from carrying Elizabeth around for 4 hours straight.

At 4:45 we asked what time the winners would be announced and they said 5:00. Knowing what that means in Indonesia (somewhere in the 5:00 hour), we decided to wait until 5:15 and if we hadn’t heard anything by then we would go ahead and go home and Kelli’s husband, Chase, would wait to find out the results. This of course turned out to be the case, and we were all so exhausted and ready to go home and relax.

We got home and about 20 mins. later the electricity went out, then back on for 20 mins., and then off again. Fortunately it was not too long this time, but after a long day, it is not fun to have to everything by flashlight as we eat dinner and get Elizabeth ready for bed. We sure are thankful that we have electricity most of the time!

One of the really strange things that we saw caused us all to have a very strong cultural reaction. As part of this big “party” there was also a “fashion show.” Little girls about 6 or 7 years old were dressed up in black skimpy clothes with fishnet stockings and TONS of makeup. They strutted around the stage like runway models. To see something like that in America is just a little different, but here in Indonesia it struck us all as really strange. First of all, all of the little girls mothers not only wore long sleeves and pants, but also had their heads covered. It was a strange dichotomy to see the contrast of what is expected of a married woman, versus dressing a little girl up and teaching her to strut in a sexy way. In a culture that is very proper, reserved, polite, and modest, seeing little girls that had been taught the opposite (and maybe what they think is Western?) didn’t seem to fit. Hmmm…. still thinking about all this.

Overall it was a great day and a lot of fun. Happy Halloween everyone!


1 Comment

Filed under daily life, our kids

One response to “An Interesting Halloween

  1. Great pictures, Matt and Kara! Yes, that was a very interesting, weird experience. And I'm with you Kara, still processing that "beauty pageant" – wow – really sad. I think Elizabeth and Uriah were the cutest kids there! 🙂

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