Of course I can’t help but think about Hollyween, it’s that time…..



It’s October and , of course, I always think about my favorite holiday when this month rolls around. Even though Scott and I haven’t hosted our Hollyween party in two years I always remember fondly, all those years of so much fun this time of year. Now that we live in Panama and Halloween isn’t really very popular, (as a matter of fact it’s hardy even celebrated here at all), I cant help but reminisce about all the good times that took place this time of year on Orange Avenue. For me, the best part was the decorating which began sometime in late August or the beginning of September. Only after every single decoratable(that may not be a word, but I’m goin’ with it!) inch of my home, inside and out was covered in creepy, crawly, spooky goodness, did I stop decorating. From the ceilings inside,(we actually covered the vaulted ceilings with orange ice-sickle lights that we suspended from the recessed cans), to every room of the house, including bathrooms and then every inch of the yard, Hollyween was alive and well at our home. I will admit and proudly embrace that I was that one crazy person in our neighborhood who took the Halloween decorating a bit too far, but, is there really a ‘too far’ when it comes to decorating for Hollyween??

I had a wild collection of Halloween decorations which seemed to somehow grow with each passing year. As preparation for this move to Panama I had yard sales and many of my friends who had enjoyed my parties through the years bought most of my collection and I’m sure those wonderful Hollyween decorations are being enjoyed this time of year. Knowing that my friends are still getting lots of smiles out of my collection is the only thing that eases the sadness of not having it anymore. Although I have no regrets about moving on and letting go of my tradition of being the Hollyween Queen, I can’t help but feel little pangs of missing the parties that were so much fun.

Scott got to cook like a mad man for those parties! I got to let loose with my often ‘sick’ sense of humor while I decorated to my hearts content . Of course We were a team when it came to our ideas to thrill the kids with creepy surprises in our yard. One of my favorite things we did was the leftover bathtub from one of Scotts remodel jobs, he came up with the brilliant idea of ‘repurposing’ that ugly old tub that had been just waiting to be taken to the dump. He rigged it up in the yard so that it had a shower head and we hung a scary skeleton which he had altered to make it look like it was all bloody and standing under the red water coming out of the shower head in the tub. Yikes!! I know…..Creepy! But it was a hit! And I don’t have to remind anyone about the scary clown on the front lawn that was inside the big crate and would suddenly pop out after jiggling the crate around and yelling at the kids to help him from inside the crate! All computerized and programed by Scott and a good friend. Oh…..Such great memories of our tradition of long ago. Our last party was the biggest, we had about 200 people and we were exhausted! But good exhausted, I think the karaoke put me over the top! I would never karaoke in public, but at my house, after just enough rum punch and dressed as a troll or Thing One or a Courtesan , Watch out!! Lot’s of good times at those parties.

Honestly, I”m so glad to have the memories but I’m kinda over the whole Halloween thing and ready to discover what my new traditions will be. The whole month of November is filled with many different holidays here in Panama and I’m thrilled to be able to experience it for the first time this year. I’m told there are endless parades and lots of drumming. Music and crowds and crazy traffic. Most who have lived here for a long time try to steer clear of the craziness but I suspect, this year at least, I’ll want to be out there watching the parades and cheering for the kids who I’ve been hearing practicing for months already. Every school has a drum corp and they seem incredibly passionate about their drumming.

Today,(Saturday) I got to help my new Panamanian friend , Aris, decorate for the baby shower she is hosting for her daughter tomorrow. As I was hanging pink balloons and pink and white crate paper I couldn’t help but think about how different these decorations are from the ones I would normally be decorating with this time of year. 🙂 And I felt so happy to be included in a wonderful celebration of a new life. Because that’s exactly what I’m celebrating each day right now, my new life. A new country, many new traditions and celebrations, a new language, many different people who are becoming my new community , just endless new and different experiences that continually make me smile. I don’t know if I’ll ever be as extravagant as I was for my Hollyween celebrations but I’m so grateful to have had those great experiences to look back on with pleasure. I don’t think I’ll ever go through the month of October without reminiscing fondly about all those Hollyweens of yore, and all the people who enjoyed it with us!




About hollycarter184

Life is Good! But it's time for a change, and more adventure! I'd like to share the whole experience of preparing then actually making a reality of expatriating, and moving to a new country. It's an exciting, and slightly scary move full of possibility . I'm looking forward to learning a new language and making new connections with the people who share our spirit of adventure. This blog is my way of continuing my connection with my friends and family in the States. Sooooo here it goes! :)

10 responses »

  1. I love Halloween too and also gave away almost everything. It’s not much of a holiday here, which is sad since it’s my favorite holiday. But on a positive note, we don’t have Christmas sales on Thanksgiving Day

  2. Holly, I am so happy Glen & I got to come to your last Hollyween party. Since his birthday is the 30th he said he had never had such a large exciting birthday party 🙂

  3. Your Parties where something else, but maybe you could now celebrate, I was going to suggest Day of the Dead but Decree 3214 passed last year prohibits alcohol and partying. ( How amazing is this internet). Just have parties you and Scott are the best hosts.

  4. I was reading this post while driving home from an Oktoberfest party (Ray was driving the two hour drive actually) and thinking how much I will miss the fall here (believe me though, I will learn to love other types of foliage). I like the idea of a Day of the Dead party as Elaine was going to suggest but just have it the day before or the day after 🙂 OR perhaps an annual “Scott and Holly made it to Panama” party every summer. There’s always a reason to have some sort of party!

  5. The Day of the Dead partying actual starts at one second after midnight when the alcohol ban is lifted. 🙂 Then wait for the fireworks and music to begin.

      • Here you go – I wrote a blurb in another blurb last year! I think it’s on November 1 this year…

        This morning we’re off to Spanish lessons. Our lesson for Monday is changed to Tuesday because of the statutory holiday here tomorrow. It’s the beginning of the independence celebrations and there is a parade tomorrow in our town and there will be many throughout the country. The main t.v. viewing on the Panameño stations will be of the three days of parades. Today is the Day of the Dead – Dia de los Difuntos or All Souls Day – Día de los Muertos. No alcohol or dancing is permitted today anywhere in the country. Loud music boxes or jukeboxes are not allowed so the cantina at the end of our street will be quiet. Wow, the silence is going to be weird around here. The penalties for breaking the law range from one hundred to one thousand dollars. The locals will go to the cemeteries to pray for their departed loved ones, clean up the area around the graves, place flowers on the graves and sometimes even leave food as well. It is an all-day event rooted in Catholic traditions and apparently lack of liquor sales does not impede festivities.

  6. Holly—I think you really need to start some sort of traditional “Holly and Scott” party in Panama to kind of replace your Hollyween bash here in the States!! You two are so experienced in entertaining and you both love doing that kind of thing that it would be a breeze for you to do—but you probably need to wait until a few more months go by so you can “pick” a time of year and perhaps teem it up with a local holiday or celebration and just elaborate on that event with your own kind of “Holly and Scott” event!!! That will really get you even more “settled into” your new surroundings and adventure!! Just have fun—-!!!!

  7. How funny that you included that first picture from your everyday collection. Hmmm. Guess you’re not wearing as much makeup these days? Who could forget how my sweet young son was forever traumatized by Halloween at your place? “Want to go to auntie Holly’s for halloween this year hunny-bunny?” “NO WAY MOM!!!” Sheesh.

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