Wednesday, 31 October 2012


Return of the mummy... plus a princess

I have always enjoyed fancy dress. Perhaps this is what inspired me to go trick-or-treating as a young child, despite the fact that Halloween wasn't widely celebrated at the time (which meant that almost no one whose door we knocked on had any sweets to give us). My friend and her little brother would join me and my little sister, all of us wearing costumes put together from whatever was in the dress-up box, and we would wander off down the street after dark with (to the best of my memory) no parental supervision whatsoever. Afterwards we would return home and inspect our loot, which was usually comprised of a few sweets, some coins, biscuits and an assortment of non-edibles (I distinctly remember being given candles, stickers and once, by the family of a boy from our school, some Japanese salty plums in lolly-like wrappers. Our classmate stood in the doorway giggling as we left, presumably anticipating the nasty surprise we would receive when we tasted them).

Decades later, Halloween has become more popular here and many children go trick-or-treating in their neighbourhoods. It's hard to resist a pagan festival combining dress-ups and sweets... so I did a letterbox drop in our street asking children to join us for some trick or treating, and for parents to tie balloons on their letterboxes if they would like us to knock on their door (R got to be 'postie' and thoroughly enjoyed it. Since that day, letter posting games have been very popular around here).

Today was the big day and although I had spoken to a few neighbours whose kids were planning to dress up, I was worried we might end up with only a couple of homes to visit. So it was wonderfully exciting, come evening, to see balloons on several houses up the street. And there was a real buzz in the air when the children gathered outside our house dressed as witches, fairies and superheroes, lolly bags at the ready. I kicked off proceedings by handing out chocolate frogs and silly bandz, then we made our way up the street as a group. At every house we went to I was amazed to see how thoughtful people had been, preparing little bags and packets of sweets, or offering bowls and jars of mixed lollies for children to choose from. We all met neighbours we had never spoken to or seen before. It was really lovely.

And although I'd worried that our street of 20 houses (half of which participated) was a little small for trick-or-treating, I'm so glad it isn't bigger because K somehow managed to wind up with the most ridiculously large collection of sweets...

And R was very happy with her (much more modest) haul too.

R looking dazed as the evening comes to an end

 After a sweet-eating session it was bedtime for the mummy and the princess. But the little lantern I made (just a bit of black paper around a jar with a candle in it) was apparently so terrifying to R that I not only had to remove it from the hallway but was also made to promise that I would blow out the candle, scrunch up the paper and dispose of it.

Never mind - I'll make another one next year. Sweet sugar-fuelled dreams, kids!

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