October in Nebraska is usually pretty chilly. I remember bundling up with a coat stylishly draped over my Halloween costume before setting out for Trick-or-Treating. Sometimes Trick-or-Treating was cancelled or moved to an indoor Mall when an early snow or ice storm hit. This hot cocoa and mittens weather was always a good indicator that the holidays would soon be approaching.
This year, we celebrated Halloween weekend "Turkey Style". The day before Halloween we joined Father Efren and some fun friends on a trip to the beach. It was a fabulous day! Father is friends with a Turkish family that owned a tiny restaurant on a private part of the beach. This wonderful family generously welcomed us and let us enjoy the Mediterranean while they prepared lunch for us.
The beach was great! It was a perfect, sunny day and we were the only ones there to enjoy the Sea. Dan was eager to let Peter experience the waves splashing up on the shore. Peter was hestiant for a minute or two, but soon discovered how much fun it was to let the waves splash up on his little legs. He was so excited! Even the big waves didn't phase him. He was a perfectly content, soaked little boy. He also loved feeling the sand on his toes when he walked. He kept digging those little toes deeper into the soft sand.
After a morning of playing in the Sea, we worked up an appetite. We walked up to the restaurant for some tea while we waited for lunch. When our hosts heard we were coming, they cast out a fishing net the night before our arrival so we could feast on freshly caught fish from the Sea. They let us peer into the cooler full of ice and Sea Bass and pick out the fish we would like to have cooked for us.
Our lunch was perfect: freshly grilled Sea Bass and shrimp, salads, bread, Coca Cola in old fashined glass bottles and tea! The fish was perfectly cooked and seasoned...the best I've ever had! Yum!
After our feast, Father bought some fresh crabs from the Sea. They were huge and bright blue and still alive! We could hear them scratching around in the cooler during our drive home. Father generously offered to share the crabs with us. We carefully picked out four of them using salad tongs as they tried to pinch us.
Since we're Nebraskans through and through, we had no idea how to cook a live crab. I've only even eaten crab once before in my entire life. Dan jumped into action and googled "how to boil a live crab" while I put our salty, sandy little beach boy into the tub. Fifteen minutes later, we had a clean little boy and four beautiful boiled crabs. Hooray, Dan!
The next day, we celebrated our first Halloween in Turkey. I LOVE Halloween on base. It feels so safe and friendly; like what it might have been like in the 1950's. Here on this small base, you know and trust many of your neighbors, which makes the entire atmosphere very family friendly. There were lots and lots of children out Trick-or-Treating with their parents. The Security Forces guys volunteer for "Pumpkin Patrol" which means that there are dozens and dozens of Security Forces police officers walking the streets ensuring that everything is going smoothly.
The Base Chapel hosted an All Saints Day Party in which adults dressed up like Saints and Bible Heros to educate little Trick-or-Treaters about their lives. Peter attended this party as his patron, Saint Peter. He even carried his very own set of Keys to the Kingdom of Heaven.
After the chapel party, we came home to hand out candy and put Peter into his other costume. Grandma Beth mailed Peter a super fun surprise costume...and Peter celebrated his second Halloween in style as a Disco Baby (yes, afro wig and all!).