1 Nov 2009

Smashing Pumpkins

November dawns, sheeting down with rain as gusting wind tears the remaining leaves from the trees. Winter is definitely on its way. I don't really get along with winter but the first of November means that at least another Halloween is over.
My boys love Halloween but their constant nagging of  'can we take them trick or treating' (ie, door to door begging) drives me insane. And the answer is always no. I don't mind if someone else takes then, but the thought of traipsing around the neighbourhood in the cold and dark, in the hope of grabbing some tooth-rotting sugar is frankly, hideous.
Last year they went with the next-door neighbours who love the whole event. And to be fair, we always carve a pumpkin and buy a couple of bags of mini-treats to fill a bowl for those ringing our doorbell. It's just the going from house to house that I loathe.
I have always seen Halloween celebrations as an American thing, where it's a really big event. The media and retail sectors here have grabbed the day by the throat and tried to replicate the whole thing here but it always strikes me as a bit half-hearted. That said, it's hard just to ignore the whole thing when the TV is wall-to-wall Halloween.
Saturday was spent with my youngest, scooping out the slimy innards of  a Sainsbury's carving pumpkin and then letting him get on with his design. I, meanwhile, made chilli pumpkin soup and chilli-roasted pumpkin seeds (delicious and very moreish)
He was scheduled to go to his friend's house for 5pm and spent the whole afternoon asking me what time it was and was it time to put on his ghoulish make-up for his zombie outfit.
My eldest, who had spent the day in London with Dad seeing the Michael Jackson exhibition (£16 each and he still got to the gift shop in under 45 minutes flat), was staying home to dish out the sweets but had also carved a pumpkin of his own to light and put outside the house.
In the end, we had twice the amount of pumpkins than visitors. Is everyone as boring as me? Was everyone sitting at home with their candy waiting for visitors who never materialised? It appears that Halloween may well be just over-blown retail hyperbole designed to sell as much tat and as many multi-packs of sweets as possible and we reserved British are only half-convinced. We don't mind buying the goodies but going round to people's houses? I think the majority are with me on that one.
Even the little girl dressed as a witch who came to our door didn't manage to actually say 'Trick or Treat' but just looked sheepish as she held out her cauldron. Her pot was full, so presumably I'm not the only one who stocks up waiting for the writhing masses of spooky-themed youngsters to descend.
As if the lack of visitors wasn't tragic enough,  the evening was topped off by my husband who, on his way to collect our youngest, reversed over one of the pumpkins, leaving it splattered across the lane. A fitting verdict on the whole non-event perhaps?
So, goodbye Halloween for another year and hello November, onwards towards that other big waste of money.. Bonfire Night.