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Halloween (and other scary things)

Just adding a wrapup of some stuff from around the house here, centered on Halloween.

We didn’t really do a full-on celebration, but we were still in the mood to carve. We got a couple of pumpkins, and made a scary face and a cat, but our real fun was in doing carrots! We spent an evening putting little faces on them and then posing them in front of candles for a neat little effect:

Halloween Carrots

There was a middle school social that Dave and Breck attended. Breck got zombiefied with a bloody face, while Dave’s outfit got misplaced somewhere in cyberspace:

Dave's Halloween "costume"

(The fine print reads “The Halloween costume you are looking for might have been removed, had its name changed, or is temporarily unavailable. Or Mr. Stutz might simply be too lame to have made one in the first place.)

We had our own scary cat on Saturday morning, as Linsea tried to get into the fish tank. We caught her red-handed (or laser-eyed, as the case might be):

Linsea on the fishtank

Always an exciting time around the Stutz house…

Halloween 2011

Not much going on in Jakarta, other than a middle school social, but WOW!! Did Breck ever go all out as an Orc Zombie:

Breck Halloween 2011 - scary zombie!

Pumpkins and orange cookies

Orange Cookies - mmmm!We busted out the pumpkins tonight, and carved ’em all up to a soundtrack of Ghostbusters, Nightmare on Elm Street, the Time Warp, the Halo video game background music, the Devil Went Down to Georgia, and everything in between (we even fit in a little TLC along the way).

Kevin and Elizabeth joined us from downstairs, so we all munched on some orange cookies that Alea had made yesterday and crunched on some tasted pumpkin seeds which were roasted up as we worked. Zip on over to the webpage for some pictures of all the efforts!

Trick or Treat

Halloween Kids 2009We had our traditional Kiara Halloween fest last night, with a ton of kids from school visiting and a bunch of parents doing the same. The young ones roamed up and down the stairwell, going from room to room collecting goodies, while the old ones congregated in one apartment, enjoying adult beverages and even special jello!

Halloween 2009 dadAfter the tricks and treats were done, the kids came to our place to watch Charlie Brown and Monsters Inc. All reports indicate that they were well behaved, even with the sugar high they were sporting.

And the Stutz costumes? Susan wore her Boo!! T-shirt and kept the home fires burning, Breck was Billy the Kid from Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure, Alea was an Emo (not Elmo, but Emo) and Dave played a suave Hugh Hefner.

Carving up the pumpkins

Carving the pumpkinsSince Susan is hosting a book club meeting tomorrow night, we figured we’d get our jack o’lanterns done a few days early. Our maid had picked up a few (greenish yellow) pumpkins from the market, and a neighbor from downstairs brought up carving magazines and stencils (I kid you not).

Oh, in case you were wondering – here’s a little bit of international Halloween trivia to keep handy: Indian pumpkins are MUCH easier to carve than Serbian pumpkins. They are soft and scoop out with very little effort.

In any case, there were some scary faces, a stenciled-on spider, and Breck even carved his very own pumpkin for the first time – a zombie! Aside from the cheesy (pumpkin) pi tattoo I gave mine, the evening was a success. Plus we’ll have lots of roasted pumpkin seeds to eat!

So now we are all set for the girls coming over to talk about “People of the Book.” I won’t be attending, but just for the record I thought the end of the book ruined the whole thing: how in the world could he have recreated – perfectly (except for the wrong skin) – the book. Silly, silly, silly, and there goes all pretense of reality for me.

Oh but wait, this post is about pumpkins. OK – so this is what they looked like in the end. Now we’ve gotta see if they last until Saturday!

Final Faces

Happy Halloween from Mumbai

We are, indeed, a week or so late – but that’s ok! Because of the week without walls trip and Diwali break, our Halloween celebrations didn’t take place until yesterday, but we sure jumped into them whole heartedly!

We had bought some Indian pumpkins – green, not orange – before our break, and kept them in the refrigerator to keep. Unfortunately, some froze and were no good, so we ended up with only one to carve.

But, the kids were sure excited about designing and cutting the face. Alea drew out the eyes, Breck liked a square nose, and Dad tried some fancy teeth. Breck took a turn cutting for the first time, and did a super job pushing the knife through the thick skin.

The seeds and scum inside were really cold (having just come out of the fridge), so Alea and Breck took turns scooping everything out. We got quite the assembly line going, where they would pull out a handful and hand it to dad, who separated the seeds from the other stuff and set them aside to bake (of course!). Mom sat at the other end, giving advice and taking pictures. A true family effort!

By the end of all the work, we had a great looking pumpkin all ready to fire up and scare the trick or treaters!

The kids got into the spirit of things with their costumes. Breck decided to bypass the Yoda look he had worn to school and went as a “Mysterious Jedi,” complete with mask, hood, and two lightsabers! Alea and some friends all got together to be “Plastic Bag Princesses,” a take off the book “The Paper Bag Princess.” (obviously the ogre at the end went with a different theme for her costume!

We played scary music that echoed through the hallways, and the floodgates opened at 7. By my count, there were 22 kids running around and knocking on doors, looking for goodies. By 7:15, every apartment had been visited (sometimes even more than once by enterprising trick or treaters!), and people slowing began migrating down to the designated gathering place for candy swaps and treats for the adults (ahem). It actually turned into quite a good party, with conversation about politics and sports, kids trading huge piles of candy, pillow fights, and even the Thriller video!

With a surprise visit by the Great Pumpkin (disguised as a dog), the evening was complete. Dad had to drag Alea home at 11 (mom and Breck had left a bit earlier, as he is still getting over being sick), but the kids were already plotting what they were going to be next year. A super special scary evening, and a ton of fun for the start of the month.

And now – it is time to pull out the Christmas stuff!!!!!

Back from one, off on another

Alea and Dave got back from our Week Without Walls trips on Thursday and Friday respectively, and now we are all packing up for our week long trip to Udaipur. Mom and Breck had some quality alone time, including day of canceled school! There had been some political unrest with a nationalistic party (the same group that had been causing problems earlier), and the police arrested the leader on Tuesday. Because of the possibility of trouble at the courthouse – just down the road from ASB – school was cancelled Wednesday. This, of course, had no bearing on us since we were out of the city, but it gave Susan and Breck some ‘at home’ time. (Some teachers took the opportunity to go shopping and get their nails done, as apparently there was no issue in our part of town, but the Stutz’s decided to stay home)

In any case, our trips were great – exhausting and physically demanding, but very satisfying overall. Both trips did some hiking, rappelling, outdoors cooking, as well as exploring India’s flora and fauna. Alea went to Matheran with the 6th grade, and did many of the same activities that Dave’s kids did last year. She found a scorpion, however – something that none of us ever saw! Talk about a fantastic find on her part!

The 7th grade trip to Durshet was centered around developing some teamwork, mountaineering, and orienteering skills that would allow the kids to track down and capture Veerappan, an infamous Indian bandit. The conclusion of the trip was them capturing him and throwing him in the pool – that’s where the picture is from. We made village visits and climbed to Buddhist caves – all of which will get written about in due time.

For now, however, we are off to Rajasthan for a week. When we get back, I will make efforts to get the pages from the last few weeks up and running. According to my count, I will be behind by 5 pages: Goa, Life in India 6, Week Without Walls, Village Life, and Udaipur. Of course, we also have a Halloween parade that first week back (it is being held November 8 here, since everyone is on vacation during the real date), we get back to teaching, soccer practices start on Wednesdays and Mathcounts on Thursdays, so those might be a bit slow coming out.

Who knows – we’ll figure it all out! Have a great Halloween!

Happy Halloween!

Stutz family at Halloween 2007So here it is, one day after our Diwali shindig, and we had the big Halloween get together. (You can bet the kids are just going nuts at school with all the parties, candy, days off, and break coming up.) We had a trick or treating night at our apartment building, and all staff kids were invited to go up and down the stairs, knocking on all the doors and getting tons of candy. There were even ‘adult treats’ being cracked open in one of the apartments.

A few more pictures of the evening are posted here.

Breck and Alea did pretty well, and held their own in the trading sessions that followed. I was pretty excited to see that someone had even gotten ahold of Reese’s somehow, and so I made sure to ‘encourage’ them to trade for those!!

Susan the pirate picked up the same cold that Breck and Alea had, and so she stayed for a bit as the pirate greeting the kids, but then she did make her way around to give holiday greetings to all. She was not feeling any better this morning, but still decided to come in to school, but was not sure if she would make it all day. (I find it amusing that our driver has the day off on Thursdays, and that is the day of the week that everyone in our family has been the sickest!) Hopefully she’ll be feeling better by this weekend!

Eid Mubarak

Eid celebrationWell the kids are in bed, but the fireworks are just starting to go off all over. It is Eid, the end of a month of fasting for Mulsims, and our neighbors downstairs are gearing up for a big party tonight. I wonder how that will compare with the Oktoberfest party we are planning for next Saturday? Many of the drivers at school are Muslim, and most have been fasting, so the afternoon rides home – when they’re feeling the effects of a full day with no food – have not been for the faint of heart!

It is pretty interesting to live in a place where all these different festivals coexist so well. The Ganesh season just wrapped up and there is another Hindu festival happening now too (with however many hundreds of god there are, it is no surprise that there always seems to be a party going on). And the Christians have… Halloween right around the corner!! (let’s see how many hackles get raised with that comment!)

Elementary soccer teamHad the big elementary school soccer tournament today – last day of coaching for me (yay!). We went 2-0-1, but the team we tied won on goal differential. Oh well, it was a fun day in the sun. The tough part about it was that Breck wanted to be on the team, but there were only 12 allowed (and 63 went out). Kind of a rough deal to have to make cuts in grades 1 through 3.

Anyways, after swimming with the kids, we all spent a quiet afternoon getting ready for Monday. We will be going to an Eid celebration tomorrow too, so will be interested in seeing how that goes.