Halloween in Finland

Saturday was All Saints' Day in Finland, not Halloween. But there were a few observances of the American holiday. Both girls had Halloween parties at school. The whole family was invited to Magdalena's party. We rotated through activity stations like listening to a spooky story, playing Halloween charades, making safety reflectors, and playing Finnish Boggle. There was no candy at all, just some wafer crackers and juice at the end. It was fun, if a little overwhelming because of the language issue. Finnish Boggle is really, really hard when you don't have a good vocabulary base yet, and charades is hard to win when you know what you want to guess but can't bring up the word in time. But the kids got to dress up and celebrate: Miriam was a ghost, Magda was a pirate, and Sterling was Captain America.

On Halloween itself, we went on a family bike ride to a neighboring village to see Linnavuori - Castle Mountain. It's a prominent hill in the area and there have been fortifications on it since BC times, mostly recently in the 1300s. It was a brisk 7km ride there before dusk and a steep climb up the hill itself to catch the sunset.

As the light faded, we headed back down and played in the leaves and sat in the rope swing. We admired some of the old buildings around and ate a few sweets leftover from our Friday tradition. Then we rode back home in the dark. Very autumn-y, and it checked my "vaguely spooky activity" box for Halloween.

Oddly enough, out there in that small village, we passed a single group of dressed-up trick-or-treaters. I imagine this is a holiday that is slowly creeping into observance here. The next morning, Miriam told me she was sad that we didn't go trick-or-treating. All at once I felt surprised and guilty that I hadn't tried to manufacture more of the US traditional experience for them - trick-or-treating in our own house at all the doors, at least. I remember Halloween being so important to hold on to when we moved to Sharjah. But with all the changes and new job and stress here in Finland recently, I didn't have the emotional energy to put up a Halloween facade for my kids. MOM FAIL.

Or is it?? Because then I found out that kids in Finland get to do something similar to trick-or-treating just before Easter in the spring. So this year at least, we'll be completing our Halloween experience in March!

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