Posts Tagged ‘Traditions’

Halloween in New York City is a BIG deal.  I feel as though the whole of Manhattan had been gearing up for THE day for well over a month. As soon as the back-to- school supplies left the shelves they were immediately replaced by scary decorations, pumpkins, gory make-up and those dreaded calorie packed “mini” chocolate bars. Vacant stores were turned into costume shops where you could find a wide variety of get ups for both adults and children.  I was starting to a get a bit nervous, like everything here, there seemed to be a standard for Halloween and I was beginning to feel the newbie jitters.  What exactly happened in NYC on Halloween? How the hell could you possibly trick or treat in this crazy town? Who you gonna call? Ghostbusters!!!  Uh no, your girlfriends of course.  Thankfully, they steered me in the right direction and this is how our first Halloween in New York City took place… And let me tell you, it was slightly different from the door to door rush in the ‘hood of Findlay Creek.

First, the basics. I felt like I had that, at least, covered. We had already bought the girls costumes and they were ready to go.  Cute as can be, our little Minnie Mouse and the Mad, Mad Hatter were rarin’ to go.

A (Mad Hatter) & R (Minnie Mouse)

They grabbed their bags and headed on out the building to our first stop- a Halloween Party at our friend’s apartment.  Unlike our old neighbourhood in Ottawa, where you went door to door and snuck some adult beverages along the way, there seemed to be many pre-parties going on in Manhattan.  The premise is that the children blow off some pre-trick or treating steam and eat some real food before they head out. I believe the real purpose for the get together is so the adults can gain some patience through the lovely liquid warmth and courage of grapes, hops and barley!

As we headed up Broadway to our party, the girls stopped along the way at various stores to trick or treat.  This may sound odd but it is the norm here on Halloween.  Local stores have an abundance of candy and children are encouraged to stop by in costume any time of the day on the 31st to get a treat. It truly was a wonderful sight to behold as children skipped down the street in excitement and ducked in and out of stores filling their goodie bags.

T & T at a Local Jewellery Store

Children in Costume Exiting a Local Restaurant

We were told that on Halloween not every street is trick or treat worthy.  Certain streets are blocked off to traffic and the brownstones are decorated, haunted houses are made and entertainment is planned.  So, for our second stop we headed down to 69th Street. Just to give you a bit of context, this was the 40th year of the neighbourhood block association Halloween party and it did not disappoint.  Most of the decorating is done day of, as it would ruin the surprise otherwise! The celebration on 69th Street is crowded and crazy busy but it is worth it to just get a glimpse of the decorated homes, the abundance of candy and the shows (yes, I said shows) taking place along the block.  After all, NYC is known for its flair for the dramatic 😉

The Crowd on 69th Street

A Decorated Brownstone Courtyard


Those are REAL people putting on a show suspended from the top of the apartment!

Our third and final stop was our apartment building.  We finished up the night by visiting our neighbours in the building.  (A sign-up sheet is posted in each elevator indicating which apartments are participating in Halloween).  It was a nice end to the evening, chatting with residents and meeting many of them for the first time.  The four of us went back to our new home and did the same old routine of sorting through the candy.  Ron and I confiscated the bad things like Reese Peanut Butter Cups (!) and then we tucked two very tired and happy children into bed.

It was our first Halloween in New York City. The newbies had survived. In fact, I think we blended in quite nicely with the rest of the costumed pack =) It was different but not in a bad way, just in a different way.  Learning new traditions, finding out more about our NEW ‘hood and reminiscing a bit about our old.  It was just another crazy, busy, yet somehow intimate and comforting night in the City.

The biggest fright?  Going into the stores today and finding holiday decorations and wrapping on the shelves… Only 7 more weekends until Christmas- BOO!!!!!

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Happy Thanksgiving!!


I am writing this post as the incredible aroma of a cooking turkey is wafting through the apartment.  Ron is making a traditional Thanksgiving dinner on the Sunday before Columbus Day.  Why?  Because even though we have moved to the United States we are having a bit of a tough time giving up some of our old customs and traditions, Canadian Thanksgiving being one of them.

A & R are getting really excited about Hallowe’en.  Last week they asked if they could start putting up the Hallowe’en decorations.  We pulled out the box and found our Hallowe’en decorations and our Fall Harvest decorations packed in together.  The topic of Thanksgiving came up and Ron and I explained that there was a long weekend coming up and that it was for Columbus Day NOT Thanksgiving.  A big long discussion began about US Thanksgiving, the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade and of course the age old question- “just who the heck IS Christopher Columbus?”  Luckily, a library book on good ole’ Christopher helped us answer the last one 😉

Ron and I talked and we decided to go for it and celebrate Canadian Thanksgiving.  It would be a nice touch for the girls and we could have a lot of fun by inviting and including our ex-pat Canadian friends. We ordered the Turkey from Fairway, where the butcher politely asked if we were perhaps a month early and then extended the invite to friends who laughingly loved the idea.

So, here I am, sitting writing this post feeling a little nostalgic but also incredibly thankful.  The apartment is clean, we have layed out the decorations, guests will be arriving soon and a new tradition is born. We have had the extreme good fortune to start out on this new adventure and experience brand new things but sometimes it is okay to carry on with the traditions that we hold so dear to our hearts.

This is a new chapter in our lives and I look forward to starting to develop our New York family traditions. Even if it is a bit ironic that the first one is Canadian, eh?

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