By Fiona Hurrell, Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – As October draws to a close, families across the U.S., Britain and many other countries are getting ready to celebrate Halloween. Yet for the expat residents of Brazil, this time-honored tradition has always seemed relatively absent, with an eerie lack of ghost and skeleton decorations adorning storefronts, jack-o’-lanterns on doorsteps and orange and black candy wrappers.
This Sunday, October 30th, however, courtesy of the InC (International Club of Rio de Janeiro) in partnership with the Gringo Café, children and grownups alike will be able to enjoy this spooky holiday tradition regardless of how far from home they may be.
The Gringo Café owner Sam Flowers, who is originally from California, understands the importance of the Halloween celebration, particularly amongst his fellow expat countrymen.
“We have a lot of regular customers who are families,” explains Flowers, who is looking forward to the event taking place at his restaurant in Ipanema. “I’m really happy to be able to host an event where they can celebrate this fun holiday and American tradition.”
Anna Whyte of the InC agrees. “For many expats [Halloween] is sorely missed! I think it is fun and important to keep these traditions going, especially for your kids, wherever you may find yourself in the world.”
Together, the InC and the Gringo Café have prepared an exciting program of Halloween activities that are sure to appeal to all ages. Treats include cookie and cupcake decorating, pumpkin carving, and for those who aren’t keen on getting their hands dirty, the option of creating their own unique gift bag or greeting card.
As well as arts and crafts, the Gringo Café kitchen is open for customers to purchase any of the all-time favorite American dishes. Whyte adds “Everyone is bound to go home fun-filled, fed and satisfied!”
As with any Halloween party, guests of all ages will be encouraged to come in full costume, which not only automatically allows them to be judged for best outfit but also entitles them to any of the complimentary craft kits.
The event is not exclusive to InC members, but is open to everyone, with no entrance fees or RSVP necessary. Nevertheless, Whyte advises families to arrive early in order to secure a place and make the most out of the day’s activities.
With the excitement clearly apparent during the lead-up to the event, the InC is keen to make this annual celebration a permanent fixture on its calendar. According to Whyte “This is the first Halloween event the InC has done with so many activities and a costume competition. We look forward to making this an annual Halloween tradition at the Gringo Café.”
Moreover, for the Gringo Café the importance of the event is not just about honoring a traditional festivity, it is about inviting Cariocas to celebrate along with the expat community.
Flowers goes on to add, “I’m really happy for the opportunity to share our Halloween traditions with Cariocas, and these events create another way to build relationships and blend our cultures. What is so great about Rio and Brazilians in general is that they are truly interested in meeting foreigners and learning about other cultures.”
The Halloween party is due to take place from 3-5PM, Sunday October 30th at the Gringo Café on Rua Barão da Torre, 240 Ipanema. For further details about the event and activities, or about the InC, visit the InC website at www.incrio.org.br