Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Halloween, Halloween, Happy Halloween...

This blog is amazingly a year old. And funnily enough when I started it I seemed to be posting about the same kinds of things. My first post was about the hell of half term, and my second about Trick or Treating.

Now let's get one thing straight here. I don't have a problem with Halloween per se. Though I was brought up a catholic, it wasn't banned in our house growing up. Indeed, we often had Halloween parties, with bobbing for apples, dressing up, and ghostly happenings.

I am also rather partial to Tim Burton's fabulously imaginative Nightmare before Christmas ( so are the kids - No 4 has spent most of this week singing, Halloween, Halloween, This is Halloween) - so it isn't the festival itself I have a problem with.

However, I do have a big big problem with the rampant commercialisation of Halloween and this stupid bloody notion of Trick or Treating drives me insane. It isn't OUR tradition I want to scream. Why do we have to follow the Yanks on this one??? (Well I suppose we followed them into Iraq, so why not?)

If you were reading last year, you may remember that no 2 gave me not inconsiderable grief last year when told she couldn't go out Trick or Treating (telling her that we consider it begging didn't go down too well). So this year to preempt matters I made it perfectly clear that we were NOT doing it.

Spouse sensibly thought we might need a fall back position, so we could at least offer them some Halloween fun, so he suggested them dressing up and face painting.

I also had another fall back, which is that nos 1&2 are planning to enter a Dr Who competition Blue Peter are running - they have to send in a video of themselves acting out a scene from Dr Who, and if they win, tantara they get to be in an episode of Dr Who. I am not unnaturally encouraging this aim - which mother wouldn't turn up the chance to chaperone their child just in order that they can drool over the thoroughly gorgeous David Tennant? Of course, the chances of them winning against the many thousands of children no doubt applying are about zero, but hey, it's worth a shot. Anyway, after the Torchwood debacle I figure Russell owes me...

Anyway, my fallback position was that they could do their videoing instead of Trick or Treating. Which worked really well until teatime, when no 2 started with, So why can't we go Trick or Treating.
Because we don't agree with it.
But why not?
Because we think it's like begging. Because we think it's dangerous. Because it's dark and cold and I can't be arsed...
But everyone else is doing it, came the inevitable wail, you are soooo unfair.

I know. I am the most majorly unfair parent on the planet. But I have to get my kicks somehow.

In the end, realising she was on a hiding to nothing, she sulkily agreed to paint her sisters' faces instead. And after tea, when no1 hit on the idea of decorating doughnuts with spooky faces, that seemed to knock the Trick or Treat rubbish on the head. Phew.

Here, I have to say one of the joys of having four children is they can create an instant party. Which is how it was, that come 6.30 last night, the kitchen floor was covered in flour (we played find the sweets in the flour), the family room was full of paper (Wrap the Mummy) and the children were soaking wet (bobbing for apples).

They went to bed far too late, all on a huge sugar rush, but huzzah! We didn't have to go out Trick or Treating and no one complained too much.

And, we only got bothered by two lots of trick or treaters, neither of which we knew, so they didn't feel too hard done by.

And do you know what? I reckoned they actually had a better time...

PS We still haven't done our filming (the scenes in question didn't call for a witch and a cat), so that's got to be put on hold now till Friday as we're busy tonight and tomorrow. No1 is too shy to let me film her (oh dear, I can't imagine how that will turn out) and doesn't know her lines anyway, but no 2 is already word perfect. Totally lifeless, but word perfect....

9 comments:

Maalie said...

I couldn't agree with you more about the trick and treat custom. It was my first evening home from Australia so I put the lights out and went to bed and ignored the knocks. And they'll be round again shortly craving a penny for the guy...

Maalie said...

I saw Torchwood this evening. Didn't undestand a word of it (perhaps I've come in to it too late). But the dark-haired girl is rather pretty...

Jane Henry said...

Maalie, I don't think you're necessarily supposed to understand it, just enjoy the pretty scenery (Gwen for you, Captain Jack for me...) And the photography of Cardiff...

Jane Henry said...

Oh and on trick or treating - as a mum I know pointed out to me yesterday, it actually goes against everything we teach our sprogs. Don't take sweets from strangers we say, except on this one night of the year, when you can go round knocking on strangers' doors and demanding sweets with menaces. I tell you, we're living through the looking glass...

Bec of the Ladies Lounge said...

I loathe Halloween (apart from the pumpkins, but we don't have the right kind growing in Australia so that's not an option - probably a good thing really) and completely agree with you about begging. There is a very nasty strain of US mimicry in Sydney these past few years on Halloween where kiddies hit the streets armed with hopeful plastic bags and expect you to give them lollies when THEY HAVEN'T EVEN DRESSED UP!

Bah bloomin' humbug.

And I do like your 'instant party' description' - we *only* have three kids but the instant party certainly kicks in.

So how's that for an introduction to each other, Jane Henry?

Julia Williams said...

Hi Bec, nice to see you here!

Our kids usually do the dressing up. But we get the particularly nasty UK strain of ASBO kids in hoodies chucking eggs and flour at people who say piss off to them.

Luckily not on our street.

And you've only got three??? Pah, what kind of a mother do you call yourself.

Mind you if you have twins that's probably more then double the trouble (and I should know as I am one too)

Nice to meet you too.
love Janex

Nic said...

I know I shouldn't encourage it, but since we moved to Northwihc from Macclesfield, we seem to have a better class of trick or treater. Every single one this year said "thank you" unprompted, everysingle one was dressed up, none of them took more than one sweet, and one little lad, when offered a second, took one, then cheekily asked for a third since he was being escorted by two older teenagers. Hubby said of course and little lad replied, as he was going down the drive "thank you, I really appreciate it!" (I kid you not). Even the teenagers who had been pressganged into taking younger siblings round and had roped in their own mates for company were lovely - they all had their hoods down, so we could see their faces, they all stood at the end of the drive where we could see them adn they all called thank you as the younger children left.

It does sound very sinister, doesn't it! For Northwich, read Midwich?

Jane Henry said...

Nic, I am probably a really bad tempered old bat... And if the kids are nice it is I agree much better. It's the hoodies who throw eggs and flour who are really the problem.
Janex

mad muthas said...

i think it sounds like you had waaaay too much fun. if you're not giving your kids an excuse to whine that you're ruining their lives, you're not doing your duty!
x