Sunday, October 27, 2013

Halloween Fun and Games

This year in Beijing we were invited to three Halloween parties: one “China Moment” party, one traditional party, and one “super sexy” Halloween party.

I embrace any opportunity to dress up, especially with the added potential of making a total fool of myself. And thanks to social media like Facebook and Twitter, I can still successfully embarrass my children even if they have fled China. I think they call that a triple threat.

The “China Moment” party was first. For those of you who haven’t experienced the wild creativity, the What Not to Wear-ness on steroids, that so many Chinese women flaunt, the party was an opportunity to capture that.  First, Rachel and I hit the stores. The hodgepodge of individual stalls under the Wu Mart on Gongtibeilu offered a wealth of possibilities. I kept buying things, until Rachel very practically said to me, “What are you going to do with all this stuff, Debbie?” Excellent question, but also irrelevant. I enjoy the sudden appearance of a hat so blinged out it hurts your eyes, the Chinglish t-shirts, the colors not found in nature, the overall awesomeness of so many over-the-top choices, added to the chance to haggle merchants down to 25 or 30 RMB. It’s all in good fun if you keep smiling, and especially when you might bring along a cherub who chirps out “Ayi!” to every Chinese woman who passes by.

I scored: leopard print stockings, a leopard baseball cap with little cat ears, and other animal-print items. For the first party, I decided to go the stockings-under-the-short-shorts route, a very popular year-round look for Chinese women who have great legs.

For me, the task was to find a pair of shorts that – how can I put this – actually fit. Granted, some of the shorts that sit in my summer attire drawer are as old as some of my young friends here in China. I finally found a pair that fit, and wore them with a fake fur sweater that I actually love and a sparkly yellow top, both straight from my own closet. Then I used the cool fur-and-diamond short boots that I bought for last year’s China Moment party, and topped it off with a sparkly headband in blue. This was actually a fairly subdued look compared to what I’ve seen walking the streets around Dongzhimen, but good enough.

Then Seasons Park hosted a Halloween event for the kids. Before trick-or-treating, the kids gathered in the amphitheater below our apartment. I would say it was 90 percent Chinese, and 80 percent of them were witches, all made with costumes bought from the same basic designer, capes and hats embossed with gold.

We had quite a few come to the door – many more than on Burlington Place – and one big group of about 10 kids banged on the door and then just poured into the apartment. Two big boys in the front refused to move out of the way when I gave them their candy and started snatching from the bowl. I actually took one candy back from one kid. Then I looked over and a tiny boy -- dressed, I think, like a tiny emperor -- was standing at the door of the kitchen just looking into the kitchen.

Parties two and three were on the same night, so I decided it was sexy all the way. I wore more animal prints than I’d ever worn: leopard print stockings, leopard print low-cut top, leopard print bow tie a la Playboy bunny, leopard print earrings, leopard print kitty ears, and a leopard print tail. All of that leopard, plus a short black skirt and high short boots added up to – you guessed it – a cougar.
The first party had amazing costumes – the Dude and Maude from The Big Lebowski, Khaleesi and John Snow from Game of Thrones, and a couple portraying Beijing’s blue-sky and hazardous air days. If political costumes are a sign you’re in DC, costumes portraying the actual air are classic Beijing. At the second party, billed as the sexy one, we had one belly dancer costume, a policewoman in fishnet stockings, a Playboy bunny, a caveman, and, my personal favorite, a woman in a green wig who was the absinthe fairy, pouring generous rounds of absinthe to all. (Note to self: absinthe plus South African-recipe punch, plus prosecco = bad idea, even for a cougar.)

In any event, I was named a “finalist” for sexiest costume, but I clearly won in the over 50 category, since Bob (the emperor) and I were the only boomers in attendance. All good fun, even for those Aussies, Brits, South Africans, and others who complain that the American tradition of over-the-top Halloween festivities are too much for them. 


  1. Deb! So glad to see you having such fun!!! And you look absolutely fabulous!