Lollies. No, not lollipops, as I incorrectly assumed. “Lollies” refers to candy of any and all types. We found them at the supermarket: mini-bars, wrapped for Halloween, in packages of… 18. Not the 300-piece bags of candy one finds in the U.S. Obviously, Halloween is celebrated on a much smaller scale in New Zealand.
If you know Ken and me, you know we’re huge fans of Halloween. Not wanting to give up our favorite holiday, we searched to see what shenanigans we could get ourselves into. Arriving in Wellington the weekend prior to Monday, the 31st of October, our timing was perfect for weekend fun. Our CouchSurfing host, Matthew, mentioned a bar that could be fun and full of costumed people. It was time to make a plan.
Handily, Matthew lives across the street from a Salvation Army secondhand shop. I popped over there and found the makings of a scarecrow costume. Ken wanted to go as an All Blacks rugby player, on the heals of their World Cup win. The grocery store, also across from Matthew’s place, had the hat Ken needed. And it had the other Halloween gear I needed: ingredients to make an apple crisp and a pumpkin! Matthew’s Maori neighbors were tickled by my jack-o-lantern.
Costumed up, with Matthew in his Canada rugby shirt, we headed to Courtenay Place. While not as big as Milwaukee’s Water Street celebration, we did find many people out enjoying Halloween. All the usual gory make-up, some scantily-clad barmaids, men in pink wigs and even the Yip Yip aliens from Sesame Street. We chatted with some lovely Kiwis at the bar and enjoyed our costumed night out.
On Halloween Day, we found ourselves in Nelson, a tourist city at the top of the South Island. Our hostel, my absolute favorite in all of NZ, Tasman Bay Backpackers, was nestled in a cozy neighborhood. Armed with our 18-bar bag of Milky Ways, we hit the streets looking for trick or treaters. We found precisely six. While a sister/brother duo found us a bit weird chasing after them with lollies, this foursome and their mum enjoyed our treats.
That’s all we found. Those six kids. We do think New Zealand and other countries could benefit from the addition of Halloween to their holiday calendars. Perhaps we can scare up new fans in each country we visit? Boo!