How to do Halloween in Azerbaijan

How to do Halloween in Azerbaijan

Step 1

Freak out when colleagues ask you to coordinate a fun Halloween party. “Make it just like in America!”

Step 2

Avoid the thought of throwing an American-style Halloween party for colleagues for about a week.

Step 3

Be guilted into your American/Fulbright duties from friends back home. Tentatively bring up the Halloween party at lunch two days before the holiday. Feel relief when they offer to help, and ask only for some ideas from you.

Step 4

Suggest a pumpkin carving contest. Tag along with some co-workers on their shopping expedition to get food and pumpkins for the party (the taxi driver might get slightly lost but that’s okay). While shopping, look at the cart in bewilderment as fresh fruits and vegetables are piled in. Remind them that American Halloween is about candy and junk food – healthy food is not allowed. Prepare to be hushed and ignored.

Why are we even in the produce section??

Why are we even in the produce section??

Step 5

Leave the store with a myriad of food items. Stop at a random produce alcove and buy a pumpkin – an Azerbaijani pumpkin. Assume that the original idea of having a pumpkin carving contest is off the table; one pumpkin is good enough!

Make sure your pumpkin has personality. This one obviously had a hat.

Make sure your pumpkin has personality. This one obviously had a hat.

Step 6

Get set up for the pumpkin carving extravaganza:

Convince your university's kitchen to lend you some supplies.

Convince your university’s kitchen to lend you some supplies.

Experience the jack-o-lantern process with the newbies….

Make sure everyone has a chance to pitch in.

Clean out the pumpkin.

Azerbaijan Pumpkin3

Make sure everyone has a chance to pitch in.

Practice face drawing. Debate if your pumpkin should be angry, or happy, or have curvy eyes versus triangle eyes.

Practice face drawing. Debate if your pumpkin should be angry, or happy, or have curvy eyes versus triangle eyes.

Draw the face....

Draw the face….

Carve the face...

Carve the face…

Take pride in the finished product:

Ta-Da!! Look at him...!!

Ta-Da!! Look at him…!!

Stick a tea light inside and bask in the Jack-O-Lanter’s glow

Mwahahaha!

Mwahahaha!

Step 7

Set up the food and EAT.

Halloween Bounty

Here’s one food station. It might not be candy, but it was nothing to scoff at. (:

If candy won’t do, then let it be fancy cake.

If candy won’t do, then let it be fancy cake.

Step 8

Set up the pumpkin in an honorary place in the office. Forget about it over the weekend and witness this sight on Monday:

Hahaha, eeewwwwwww!!!!!!

Hahaha, eeewwwwwww!!!!!!

And that, friends, is how you celebrate Halloween as an expat in Azerbaijan!

Until next time… (:

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