There are some traditions that travel well and others that don’t so much, but being in a sunny country does not stop the plucky expat from enjoying everything they did back home – even if the weather makes it rather unsuitable.
It doesn’t matter if it is 25 degrees outside and bright blue skies – I will still pull on a woolen jumper covered in snowmen for Christmas day and sit down to a gut busting five course dinner with all the trimmings when really a barbecue would be more suitable.
Halloween is another example of a holiday tradition that we expats have pushed on with gusto in the Algarve and it doesn’t matter that nobody really understands what you are doing or why you are dressed up – we keep on persevering in the vain hope that one day the local people in the town will adopt our love for this rather odd excuse to get dressed up and drink too much.
The foreign people who live in the Algarve are generally regarded by the local Portuguese folk as being a rather boozy lot at the best of times. It doesn’t help that people who come on holiday from the UK or Holland to the Algarve generally spend two weeks pissed while they are here but we can’t blame the tourists for the reputation because in truth the foreigners here have got their binge drinking down to a fine art.
Halloween therefore is another perfect excuse for grown ups to dress ridiculously and drink too much.
I am of the old school and think that Halloween costumes should in some way be related to the event and like to see a good few vampires, witches and the odd mummy – I can even stretch it to people dressing up as dead celebrities. What I am not so keen on is the tendency for some to simply put on their tightest, most slutty dress and then not brush their hair and call it a Halloween outfit.
Slutty nurses, slutty brides, slutty cats – these are all just a bit weird for me but of course this part of the Halloween tradition has been brought over to the sunny shores of the Algarve and I guess this is about the only part that really works here because the rest of the Western wold is left shivering their arses off in sub zero temperatures on Halloween while we have the sunshine that makes wearing next to nothing a little less nipple hardening.
While the local grown ups are yet to get into the swing of Halloween properly we continue to persevere each year with a dedicated group of fancy dress lovers hitting the very quiet town and showing everyone just how much fun Halloween is (I still haven’t figured out what actually makes it great fun being as we get dressed up and drunk quite often here anyway).
The local children however have discovered Halloween and you will find groups of four year olds running around the town terrorising adults with the threat of flour and eggs if they don’t hand over some goodies.
Trick or treat is only in its infancy though and I have watched the faces of confused children as they empty out their haul to discover they have 15 packets of sugar, some sugar free chewing gum, a few sweets that you get with your coffee and holy crap – even some fruit shoved in there.
These kids have watched the Disney channel for long enough to realise that this is not cool.
Halloween may not be the huge event it is in other countries around the world but it is starting to make its mark over here now – just don’t leave your pumpkin out in the sunshine or you will come home to find some rather gross rotting pumpkin jam on your doorstep – it transpires that some things just don’t travel so well.