It’s been very child centred in our house for the last few days. Hence radio silence. I had a house full of children over for Halloween on Monday. In the olden days I used to make a big effort, decorating the house, and playing games. We would have apple bobbing and bobbing for marshmallows in flour, endless pumpkin carving, and cheat pumpkins (satsumas decorated with black pen) for the smalls. These days, not so much. It was all about the food. We were all weary with the change of clocks and a day of hard schooling and everyone was starving. We did have glow in the dark silly string, which drove everyone mad, as it was wet and sticky and there was endless amounts of it leaving slithery pools all over the place. I’m still picking bits off of random cupboards and light fittings even now. I found some in my pocket yesterday. Fun times.
My friend Jenn made pumpkin laksa for the grown ups and the children had loaded jacket potatoes, and then we had potatoes too, because it would have been rude not to. Then it was off trick or treating. Or Haribo profit boosting as I like to think of it. They all did quite well out of it, although there was universal contempt for the woman who tried to give them fruit. I don’t blame them. In my day, when Trick or Treating was much more barbaric and Tricks were a serious business, she would have been spit roasted in the town square for that kind of heresy.
Oscar went as Ron Weasley and was very cross because people kept asking if he was a pumpkin because of his red hair. He’s still obsessing about it now. If he had half a chance he’d be putting on Harry Potter educational talks at the community centre to get everyone up to speed. It’s going to be something he’ll probably need therapy for in years to come.
Tallulah went as a zombie school girl, which seems very appropriate. She and her friends didn’t hang out with us and the small children when we went what Oscar used to call Trickle Treating. We were cramping their style, and to be fair, they covered a lot more ground than us, due to the fact that they didn’t keep trying to squirt silly string in each other’s eye and push each other in the hedge. Or spend ten minutes deciding which sweet to take out of the proffered bowls. They did what I would have done, which was take everything that was offered, as quickly as possible, and divide up the spoils when they got home.
Tilly was a space princess with a pink cape and a colander on her head. She and her friend Bread were so traumatised by all the small, sugared up children roaming our house, they took the opportunity afforded by our exit to get a bit of peace and merely throw sweets at the children coming to the front door instead. It’s much more appealing when you can keep them at a distance and shut the front door on them.
There’s a good system in our area. If a house has made an effort for Halloween and/or has a carved pumpkin outside, it is open for business. If not, it is to be avoided. It works well, except for when the children are so hyped up on sugar they will literally knock on anything. We managed to avoid that stage this year, after a run in with a particularly grouchy non Halloween household last year. I think he was dressed as Victor Meldrew. He certainly acted like him.
It made me laugh that some of the grown ups were just as excited as the kids. There’s one lady down our road who always makes sure the door creaks spookily open when the kids knock. She dresses as a witch and really does the business on the house. My friend Susan, who lives in a classic gingerbread cottage with a thatched roof also does an excellent line in child frightening. Her face appears at the letterbox and she hams it up to the hilt. There’s also a house which seems to have shares in police crime tape. They bundle it all over the front of the house and the children practically have to limbo dance under the tape to get their booty. Apparently there was one year where they had body parts poking out from the garage door.
I have every admiration for these people and their decorating skills and every year I think about doing it, and then realise I can’t be bothered. This year I plonked a pair of Minnie Mouse ears on my head and scrubbed the soup stains off my vest.