Wednesday, 2 November 2011

Hallowe'en Letdowns.....:(

Well, what a letdown was Hallowe'en this year. For the first time in ages we didn't have a single trick-or-treater at the door. We don't usually have many because we live on a main road and we are the only family house for maybe six blocks but there is a little estate fairly close; there are flats with children opposite; and we had the decorations outside before school closing time so passing kids could see we were 'ready and willing'! But no, not a sniff of a wee witch, ghost or ghoulie. I'd bought plenty of sweeties and they were in a skull bowl by the door so to save myself from temptation (there were Swizzels lollies....I ♥ Swizzels lollies!!!) I emptied them all into a bag and sent Carb Addict back to his placement with them. They are having a Hallowe'en/Bonfire party there on Thursday night so the sweets will be welcome. Before that I have to snag a black and white t-shirt and some black trousers I can cut down for him because this year he is dressing up as Pugsley Addams.

Carb Addict doesn't know yet and would care even less but we have a
long tradition of dressing up in this family so he has to comply!

I like Hallowe'en but I know plenty of people who don't. I was brought up in Dublin and, because they don't 'do' Bonfire Night there Hallowe'en was, and is very popular. I had heard of it when I lived in England, probably from watching Scooby Doo or The Osmonds cartoon show, maybe even The Addams Family but in a malignant Northern city in the early 70s there was next to no chance of finding a pumpkin, let alone making a Jack-o-Lantern. I do remember nattering Babcia for a pumpkin to carve and her giving me a turnip and a spoon. She's always been a joker.
Anyway, I do know that there are more spiritual meanings to All Hallows Eve but it's a fun holiday too. When I got back to England and had my own children I started trying to make something of it. I remember the first time I threw a party - Red was maybe a scrawny ten and Mr Charming a clueless eight and they both invited friends. Everyone was dressed up to one degree or another.....I had laboured over Red's Wonder Woman outfit for days - a boned corset top, satin knickers, boots and even the famous Lasso of Truth. I seem to remember Mr Charming was wearing his trusty Robin Hood outfit (also made by me for school book day - the tunic was made from snooker table baize), quite amenably* but Red was very grumpy, asking repeatedly 'but who IS Wonder Woman? I wanted to be a cat!'
The night in question was very cold and drizzly as I led fifteen children up and down the nearest residential road to us. Not one single person gave them anything and most wouldn't open their doors, or if they did were very ungracious. What a washout!
You'd think I'd learned my lesson really, wouldn't you but I was up for it again the following year. Sadly the children weren't and locked themselves in their rooms from October 15 until November 2.
Overall Red has had the most outfits made for her but they don't usually go down too well. She really liked the Medieval Queen outfit I made, the only time I used a pattern, complete with draped crown using fruit gums for jewels. She won first prize for that at a school she didn't go to, to the barely supressed fury of the other mothers. She tolerated the Cruella deVille outfit for World Book Day (the same day Mr Charming wore his Lincoln Green-o!)

They both liked their Hallowe'en Morticia and devil outfits which were made from a thrifted woman's dress each. Mr Charming's even had a hood and a cape that you can't really see. This was a competition too and in a complete and utter travesty, neither of them won anything!!!

She didn't mind the Polish traditional costume (which was only borrowed so no fear of having to say Mum made it).

But she hated the Carmen Miranda get-up, complete with fruity head ('who is she? Who is she? Nobody's ever heard of her but you!!') and the Ice Queen ensemble ('everybody could see my underwear!')...she just said that yesterday evening in fact when we were talking about costumes. A bit of an over-reaction.

Mr Charming favours this kind of outfit these days...

I would love, love LOVE to be invited to a fancy dress party but I never have been. I would have the best costume ever....not sure what it'd be but it'd be the best! In fact I'm going to start thinking about it right now....!

My other Hallowe'en letdown was at work. None of the staff but me made any effort, despite me trimming the lounge up with decorations; making a lovely ghost cake; and carving two pumpkins to go outside once it got dark (well, Red came over and carved one of them whilst at a loose end). I even went back to work after I'd finished with two candles for the Jack-o-Lanterns that I'd forgotten to take with me in the morning.
This morning when I got to work the pumpkins were still sitting on the table, obviously unused. Was I cross?! I asked my (currently not-so lovely) colleague Staś why they didn't put the pumpkins out and he started saying 'oh, it's all American crap, it's all commercial, you're not American, English people don't have Hallowe'en' and other carrying on. I was pretty hacked off because it doesn't matter what he was for the residents' benefit not his. We had to put the pumpkins out tonight instead, like gobshites who don't know what day it it.
He'd better watch it. His card's been marked, and not particularly by me.......

*having been dressed in a leotard to hop across the stage of the Southampton Guildhall, then as a blackberry (we got an awful lot of use out of that costume, which was made for Red's appearance in a gymnastics display) for something or other, Mr Charming welcomed any form of dressing up where he could keep his strides on. Even if they were Red's lime green leggings...


  1. I was born and raised in England and I have to admit that I don't remember much about Halloween, because we really didn't participate. I remember the odd year here and there where we actually went out but it was more to scare each other and look for ghost, witches and goblins!!!!
    Maybe you should plan a trip over here one Halloween!

  2. Next year you will have to have your own party and invite all your friends so you can dress up and have fun. The kids looked great over the years i have to say. I have never gone to town with dressing the house up, but i always dressed up the outside a bit. And i do take the children and there friends trick or treating and we only visit houses that have pumpkins outside. This will be the last year as my little one is now 11. dee x

  3. It's sneaking into France too in a very self conscious sort of way.

    Can't see it taking off somehow. I noticed that the shops were still full of unpurchased Halloween costumes etc. after the event.


  4. I am not into Halloween at all but I do love dressing up in costumes.I have a prety good and growing collection at the mo Kids know they dont have to go far for something and I will make what we havent got so much fun I love it just like you.

  5. I love to dress up (fancy dress), I can release the suppressed actress within. I do find though, that more people hate it than enjoy it.
    Red and Mr Charming will look back fondly on your creations when they become parents.
    If you ever host a fancy dress party, can I come please?

  6. Aww, next year you can come to my place, I'm always up for a bit of pumpkin carving and apple bobbing (one little girl nearly drowned herself this year, so determined was she). I think all your outfits have been fabulous, I don't know why they weren't appreciated. I do need to see the crown with fruit gum jewels though, I'm sure that was mentioned in my Fancy Dress book as the headgear for a Demon King, I'm impressed that you have done this in reality.

  7. I've never been into Hallowe'en but following several American bloggers I feel the need to join ion. I'm all for a bit of dressing up but not keen on teenagers banging on the door.
    Those outfits are fabulous. x

  8. I should have sent some of our callers to you as I ran out of sweets. We had nearly 80!
    Lisa x

  9. I have to say it was a wash out here too, no trick ortreaters, we live on a main road too. Wish I lived closer, we could have had a halloween party... I fancy doing bride of franky with big hair lol. Xx

  10. we didn't have many either - we aren't in the middle of the neighborhood, but the front & our houses are slightly farther apart... :(

  11. I'm a northern girl so it was always a turnip lantern when I was a child -(or Narkie as the turnip was affectionately known. There was no dressing up, but I have such fond memories of the smell of charred turnip from the burning candle inside. (We used to cut a little hole in the top as a chimney and you had to be careful that the candle didn't burn your string)The Elf and Safety people would have fit these days!

  12. Wow, this is unbelievable to me. All my life I haven't celebrated Halloween and I've always been some sort of huge freak. In the States EVERYONE celebrates. When I was a kid we had to turn all the lights off and hide in the basement as to not tempt all the many trick or treators to stop by and be let down at our not having treats. There's seriously something wrong with you if you don't celebrate it here. All the houses are decorated with spiders and ghouls and witches and there isn't a person (except myself) for hundreds of miles who doesn't carve at least one pumpkin. The movies on TV are all hollows eve related for at least a week. Every year we're invited to at least two parties. The costumes can get pretty elaborate.

    I propose that next year we swap for a day. You bring your family over here and live it up and I'll bring my family by your place and we can see what it's like to not celebrate and not be freaks.

  13. it's starting to show up a bit in Australia, I had a few kids knock on the door this year but it's not a holiday we would celebrate.
    But I do agree with your point about the residents, it gives then something interesting and different to enjoy and a little effort makes a big difference to them, so I'd be annoyed too!

  14. No trick or treaters here either- not a single knock on the door. I do live in an area which doesn't have many families though- most people are elderly, so that may explain it. You made some fab costumes!

  15. You have an award waiting for you on my blog. See post labeled "My Very First Time"


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