A French Halloween

Since the family I work for used to live in the U.S., they were all very excited for Halloween. The mother, D, pulled out a monstrous box of Halloween decorations that she saved from their time in the U.S., and they came back from their visit to the U.K. with orange lanterns and false spiderwebs. We went to a farm where you can pick your own vegetables earlier this week, which, by the way, is genius because the farmers have people paying to do manual labor… And nothing tastes better than vegetables you pick yourself! (At least that’s what we told the kids) Anyway, in addition to zucchinis, potatoes, leeks,  and apples, we managed to find some pumpkins for the kids to carve. Side note, for those interested in fun facts about vegetables, in France the pumpkin that you eat is called a potiron, and they’re smaller and not for carving. The pumpkin that you carve is called a citrouille. So, we bought both potirons, for making pumpkin gratin, soup and pie, and citrouilles, for carving.

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A potiron

We were on vacation from school for the last two weeks. The first week, the family and I each traveled (separately, more on my trip to Madrid later!) and this week the kids were home… All. Week. Naturally, I used Halloween decorations as a way to keep them busy. This was especially effective because it wasn’t just the art project that took time, we also had to find places for all of our decorations! We made hanging ghosts one day, and bats, Frankensteins, and pumpkins the next day. You’re welcome, parents, because we only used scissors, construction paper, markers and glue!

On Friday, we spent the day making Halloween treats and carving pumpkins. First, we made these spiderwebs with pretzels and chocolate, and then we made brooms out of pretzels, string cheese and chives!

All of the guests were totally impressed with our decorations and snacks (s/o to the homie, Pinterest). However, they were NOT impressed with my roasted pumpkin seeds (two varieties, this sweet recipe and this garlic and parmesan). One of the guests asked what they were, and then told me that seeds were bird food! Also, I roasted both potiron and normal pumpkin seeds together, and the potiron seeds didn’t cook as well, just for future reference.

Because I’m an awful au pair, I forgot to take pictures of them trick or treating or in their costumes… Oops. I’m still working on my resolution to take more pictures, sorry! (Also, my apologies if the pictures are blurry, the iPhone 4 camera leaves something to be desired.) The kids had fun terrorizing the neighborhood, anyway, chanting, “Des bonbons ou le mort!” (Candy or death!)  Most houses had some candy, but since Halloween isn’t as popular in France there were a lot of houses that didn’t answer the door or came out to admit that they didn’t have any candy. Afterwards, the kids ran around and made a mess out of the house while the parents enjoyed their apéritif. My fellow au pair and I hid upstairs in my room, drinking sangria, eating snacks and gossiping. An enjoyable Halloween all around!

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Hope you all had a Happy Halloween!

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