our first halloween in fairbanks, alaska

halloween fairbanks alaska

Are we all done posting and sharing about Halloween yet? I might be the last to share while everyone has moved onto their Thanksgiving preparations, but I’m going for it anyway, if only to properly mark our first Halloween in Fairbanks, Alaska. You might remember that Halloween was canceled last year in South Korea due to the tragedy in Itaewon. The kids were devastated, and I’m so glad we were able to enjoy the festivities at Mieke’s school last year before it happened. This year though, we planned to do it in style.

Our First Halloween in Fairbanks, Alaska

Life in interior Alaska is so different than what we’re used to, and the weather is really just the tip of the proverbial iceberg. It was so nice, however, to feel a semblance of normalcy as a family, and the kids got to select costumes, choose pumpkins, design and carve said pumpkins, dress up, and actually go door-to-door, which isn’t something they’ve done since our final Halloween living in JBLM.

Last year, Ryan was deployed, but this year, we were all together at home, which made it even sweeter and more fun for all of us. This year is also really the first year of trick-or-treating that Mieke really remembers. She was Elsa during our first Halloween in Korea, but I was in Seoul for my photography that day and missed out. So, this was a fun one for us all.

halloween fairbanks alaska

halloween fort wainwright

What Halloween is Like in Interior Alaska

My good friend was texting me from Korea last night, and she asked what Halloween is like here. My knee-jerk response? Cold. In all reality though, last night’s Halloween in Fairbanks was pretty balmy compared to years prior. It was 29 degrees F whilst we wandered the neighborhoods for a couple hours, and the kids didn’t really get too cold until about an hour and 15 minutes in.

It was neat to see how families here adapt to the cold though! A lot of the neighborhood moms had crockpots with hot beverages in them, ranging from hot cocoa to gluwhein, mulled cider, and more. Decorations are put up early, though most leave the snow-topping decor for the last minute. Oh, and pumpkins? We carve those at the last minute, too, because they’ll freeze outside, but they’ll rot inside.

halloween fairbanks alaska

halloween fairbanks alaska

halloween fairbanks alaska

How We Got Our Kids Ready for a Cold Halloween

Now, take this all with a grain of salt because, like I mentioned, 29 is pretty warm for Halloween in Fairbanks, Alaska. That being said, it was still cold for us because we’ve yet to completely acclimate to the weather here. Nevertheless, this is how our kids were dressed:

  • Thermal base layer
  • Silky base layer
  • Sweatpants
  • Hoodie or sweatshirt
  • Costume layered over (Mieke’s dress/the boys’ ninja and skeleton onesies)
  • Wool socks
  • Foot warmers stuck into boots
  • Insulated snow boots
  • Hot packs hand warmers
  • Gloves or mittens

Mieke absolutely should have had a hot on, but she wasn’t having it and, like I said, it was “Alaska warm” for Halloween. Oh, and not one bit of the snow and cold bothered the kids. They had a blast, and kids appeared in droves. In fact, we ran out of our giant Costco-sized 500-piece bag of candy.

Ultimately, our first Halloween in Fairbanks was a big hit for all of us, and it was really fun to have that community-esque vibe again – something we didn’t have in South Korea for this holiday. But now? Onto Thanksgiving prep…and our first visitors to Alaska…soon!