We moved to Argentina October 20. Prior to leaving the United States, stores were filled with Halloween decorations, Pinterest boards boasted healthy treats for Halloween parties, and friends were getting their costumes ready. As an elementary school teacher, I always looked forward to going to school dressed up as my favorite book character and sharing the excitement of the holiday with my students. As we flew to Argentina, the phrase “the year without Halloween” came to mind. Surely no one outside the United States celebrates such a strange holiday.
Then we arrived, and all my preconceived notions about not having Halloween disappeared. Across the street from our apartment building was an office and party supply store with window displays showcasing enough Halloween paraphernalia for the most avid Halloween-er. Costumes, hats, decor, and treats; this store had everything. Walking by the window displays every day convinced me to throw a Halloween party for Arie’s family.
Despite the crowds of people stocking up on Halloween gear, Argentina as a whole does not actually celebrate Halloween. However, I learned that it is popular for English classes to learn about Halloween and throw little parties. It has also become a promotional tool for night clubs to have costume parties the weekends before and after Halloween. Even though trick-or-treating still hasn’t caught on, kids of all ages want to dress up and celebrate with friends. (Arie’s cousins had already been to a couple Halloween parties by the time they came to ours.)
For our small party, I wanted to have some Argentinian favorites, as well as some more Halloween-y dishes. My favorite ended up being the Milanesa Mummies–small Milanesas Napolitanas dressed with cheese and olives to look like mummies. Because of their size, they were easy to eat without utensils. They were a crowd pleaser and disappeared quickly.
I also prepared Beef Empanadas earlier that afternoon, just short of baking them. I stored them in the refrigerator, and then popped them in the oven after the Milanesa Mummies were done. I love serving hot, freshly baked empanadas.
For dessert, I made a pastafrola and threw together a fruit salad and a few fruit monsters right before the guests arrived. Arie’s aunt brought sweets from a nearby bakery, and his cousin made an amazing chocolate cake with a layer of dulce de leche. Recipe coming soon!
We ate, talked, and ate some more, all happy to have a fun excuse to get together. Instead of “the year without Halloween,” this year turned out to be “the year of our Argentinian Halloween Party success.”
Now, I can’t wait to see what’s in store for Thanksgiving.