Obviously Singapore doesn’t have the right climate to grow pumpkins, but they are imported and then sold for the usual ridiculous mark-up. You can buy them at your high end grocer (Cold Storage, Marketplace, Jason’s, etc), but you can also buy them at the annual Singapore American School Pumpkin Patch. The SAS Pumpkin Patch does still do a mark-up, but I feel less bad giving them my money as opposed to whatever corporation owns Cold Storage et al.
So this past Saturday I rounded up Ellie, dressed her in her Halloween costume (because really, how many opportunities will she have to wear it) and jumped in a cab to SAS with her and our helper, B.
SAS is actually near the Malaysian border. Close enough, in fact, that I saw the warning signs about Singaporean cars needing to have a certain amount of fuel to make the border crossing (gas is very cheap in Malaysia, so the SG government requires that you have a mostly full tank when crossing to prevent people from doing the crossing whenever they want to fill up their tank on the cheap). It occurred to me that all of my previous arguments about why I wouldn’t send E to SAS were moot, once I saw how far out it was–if we ever did change our minds and decide to send her to school here, we wouldn’t send her there because the commute would just be far too long–it’s the opposite side of the country from the general area we’ll always live in to keep Ravi’s commute reasonable. I will say that what I saw of their facilities was impressive.
The “pumpkin patch” was create in an outdoor quad covered in that spongy material most school playgrounds are now made of. They scattered pumpkins about, had a few hay bales and also had some piles of gourds, “Indian Corn,” and mini pumpkins. There was a table of holiday themed books (although too old for E’s interest), a bake sale table, and a table selling tickets to the middle school’s production of “Grease.”
We now have our big pumpkin, and will likely carve it some time this week so I can turn it into muffins/cookies/etc in a timely fashion.
I’m genuinely torn as to the value of trying to do stripped down versions of holidays or if it’s just kind of sad. The grocery stores here have one free standing rack of fairly lame “Halloween” stuff, and there’s a few racks of Halloween Candy, but it’s the very small nod to the Americans, who are (to my understanding) the only people who are really into it. When I think about the Target at home with the giant Halloween section (and encroaching Christmas stuff), or even just the Halloween sections at CVS ,the small nods to the holiday here pale in comparison. I think about the fact that there are REAL pumpkin patches in Massachusetts. I remember fondly Halloweens spent in Salem. Trick or treating in a plastic costume and mask that still smelled strongly of whatever chemicals were used in its unholy creation (and one year having to buy a second, larger costume because it snowed, and suddenly my costume had to fit over ski pants and a winter jacket). Taking Elanor trick or treating for the first time last year in her turtle costume.
Is it better to leave these memories in the US, and accept that it’s just not the same, therefore just letting it pass you by? Or do you embrace what little there is to offer and make the best?