The 1st Annual Kraegel Halloween Spooktacular

There are spider webs in the frosting on our zucchini-apple muffins. Jem’s neon-pink hair is wound around a dining room table leg. There are mangled red feathers in the bathroom. The dog eats every plastic insect she can find (and then vomits them up). An ice ax was left at our house. We are still doing dishes…

I. LOVE. HALLOWEEN. It is simultaneously scary and safe. It lets you be something you’re not. It’s bizarre, it’s messy, it demands—by far—more creativity than any other American holiday, and Sam and I have officially claimed it for this and every year we live in Almaty, Kazakhstan. Our Spooky Spectacular was a spectacular success.

As with any successful party, you need a combination of tasty food, (plenty of) drinks, music, and the right people. Throw in a costume contest with a tie-breaking dance-off, and you have an unforgettable fete. Our punk/metal mix was hijacked about half-way through the party, inspired by the dance-campaigning of our costumed front-runners: Jem, Guns n’ Roses, Colonel Sanders & his Chicken. The dance party lasted until 1:30 a.m.

What we learned:

First, hosting a Halloween party in a country that doesn’t celebrate Halloween requires a great deal of planning, money, and hard work. Our invitation went out more than a month in advance to give people time to 1.) order and receive Halloween costumes via the diplomatic pouch—and everyone definitely rose to the challenge—and 2.) find a babysitter.

Second, when you’re in your thirties, you cannot eat as much Halloween candy as you used to. Forget the calories, kids, I’m talking about the sugar headache: three fun-size Milky Ways and a handful of caramel corn nearly killed me.

Third, that cotton-y spider web stuff is the best Halloween decoration. Despite the fact that it will be in our hair and in everything we eat for the next week.

Fourth, just because people go home at 1:30 a.m. doesn’t make your party lame. Legendary is possible even if the babysitter has a curfew.

In conclusion, Sam and I are pleased to have claimed the annual Halloween party as our own. But, we were even more pleased to give folks a chance to cut loose. Our photos tell the rest of the story—enjoy!


Hank & the R.O.U.S.


Homemade caramel corn.


Sam samples the cheese ball mix.




The spread.


Spider eggs. (Actually, cheese balls rolled in herbs.)


Beware the candy dish!



Dance party. Jem. Пожалуйста-stick. The Big Bad Wolf. Chicken. Mishka looks on.


Princess Buttercup takes the dog out for a pee.


The morning after: amazing wax.


The morning after: toad.


The morning after: Hank disguised as a Halloween decoration.


The morning after: chili massacre.

kregor post-halloween breakfast

Our costume contest winners celebrate with a pancake breakfast. Their pegasus trophy joins them.


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