I can remember a time in Norway when Halloween was not celebrated, when the only references to Halloween were in American horror films and books. In the late 1990s, a few adventurous souls, my stepdaughter Caroline being one of them, decided that they wanted to experience Halloween as they had read about or seen in films. In 1997, when she was a teenager, she threw a Halloween party for her friends at our house; I helped her with the setup. She wanted bobbing for apples, a cake in the shape of a pumpkin, and her friends to dress up in costumes. They showed up as witches, vampires, zombies, and in one case, one of the young men had made himself up as a woman, and you would have mistaken him for one. He looked great. At the end of the evening, the kitchen floor was flooded with water around the barrel containing the apples, the cake had disappeared, and my stepdaughter and her friends were hanging around and talking. My husband and I had gone out for the evening, and when we came home, the party broke up. All agreed that it had been a lot of fun. For several years afterward, there were sporadic Halloween celebrations on her part and in the country generally. There were a few children who ventured out during the early evening, dressed in their costumes and hoping to get some candy. But this was small-scale celebration compared to nowadays.
Norway is a nation of about five million people; this year the country spent about 20 million dollars on Halloween—costumes, makeup, candy, decorations, and parties. The amounts spent have been steadily increasing over the past seventeen years since Caroline had her party. Pumpkins are no longer difficult to find nor do they cost a fortune as they used to; I carve them into jack-o-lanterns and then use them in soups and breads after Halloween is over. It makes me happy that Norwegians want to celebrate Halloween since it is yet one more thing that connects me to my American roots. I so look forward to the neighborhood children knocking on our door for candy; I get to hand out candy and to take a look at their costumes. Some of them are quite creative. Mostly it’s just a lot of fun.
I’ve accepted the reality (as has my husband) that I’m just a big child when it comes to Halloween; I remember back to my childhood days and to the fun of Halloween. Today, I bought a spider candle at one of the local stores. It’s one of the coolest Halloween decorations I’ve seen or purchased in a long time, and I’ve purchased some really strange Halloween decorations through the years. I found a website that sells a similar spider candle; you can check it out here: http://www.angeliccompanions.com/catalog/product_info.php?cPath=96&products_id=565