halloween

Rachel is rubbish at Halloween. Why doesn’t she get into this celebration when she obsesses over others? Is it because she’s a lazy English snob who can’t sew? Or is it just too much effort?

You may notice something about the blogs I work on (both Still You and also Well Worn Whisk). There are no Halloween themed posts on them. None, not one. Now that is quite shit for a so-called family blogger. Why is this? Is it because I’m lazy or disorganised? No, it’s not that; I am the sort of annoying woman who meal plans and lays her kids’ uniform out the night before. So why on earth am I so crap at Halloween? Why does it take me by surprise every year?

Maybe it’s because I’m not ‘crafty’? Every year the same. I say to myself, next year I will be fully versed in how to use a sewing machine and by the 30th October I will be putting the finishing touches to my kids’ spookily cute or ironic home-made Halloween outfits. (Is a two-year-old dressed as Miley Cyrus too much – JOKE!) But instead I am stressing out about the fact that I have no costumes for them yet and pressurising my husband to do the annual lunchtime costume dash today to the Disney Store, Asda or the Pound Shop.

It’s not just the costumes I’m crap at, craft-wise. There are no iced biscuits in the shape of ghouls, or felt bats hanging from the ceiling for my poor, neglected children. I started a pin board on Halloween crafts and recipes, but that’s as far as I got. (I have this problem a lot with Pinterest. It’s a case of “I Pinned, therefore I did it”. No, actually you have to do it as well as create a board about doing it, love.) Throughout October mums are bombarded with images of spooky homemade stuff to eat, make, and do. I’ve really had enough. Jacket potatoes carved into scary faces for lunch anyone?

Maybe it’s because I’m too busy? I mean, there’s no way around that one. I am stupidly busy. But I make time for blogging. For cooking. For going on an occasional run. I could have got my arse into gear before now and Amazoned two scary outfits, ordered some mini packs of sweets from Ocado, and bought a few tacky decorations from the local tat shop. All is not totally lost however; we do have a pumpkin! But as yet it sits un-carved in the kitchen – and it may well stay that way. My four-year-old son has requested that we don’t carve a face in it, as it’s too scary. Oh well, got out of that one lightly.

But what to actually do on Friday (assuming we do eventually get the kids something ‘special’ to wear). I could take the kids out Trick or Treating. But to be honest I really don’t want to. I don’t want to knock on old ladies’ doors and make them angry. I don’t want to roam the streets marauding with other parents and their much better outfitted offspring. Then there’s that awkward moment when someone asks for a “trick” – what am I supposed to do then? Ask my 2 and 4 year olds to re-enact a scene from Paul Daniels and Debbie McGee’s repertoire? There are a few options locally, but they all involve costume competitions, and I already know in advance that my kids’ costumes will be, well, a bit shit in terms of being homemade – or even scary for that matter. (My reluctance to buy a specifically Halloween costume needs to be addressed here. See, I think it’s a waste of money at their ages, 4 and 2, to buy ‘scary’ costumes that they will grow out of very quickly and only therefore wear once. So, I will be advising my husband to buy something that we can get our money’s worth out of, i.e. Frozen for her and superhero for him. Miserly, me?)

Maybe it’s because I’m English? This whole Halloween thing has kind of gone crackers over the last few years really, hasn’t it? I mean, when we were kids, it really wasn’t a big deal at all. I think the birth of social media means that our dear Yank friends’ approach to the celebration has definitely rubbed off. I don’t want to be all predictable, like one of those miserable gits who phones into Jeremy Vine moaning about how anti-social it is (they do have that same anti-Halloween phone every year without fail don’t they?). I don’t hate it. I just hate all the work that’s involved; moreover, the pressure for everything to be homemade. This is slightly weird, as I am someone who loves to cook (and longs to be able to use a sewing machine). But I don’t want to eat crass, themed food with loads of food colouring – orange cupcakes with green icing? No thanks. I like my cupcakes classy. Maybe that’s it. Maybe I’m too snobby for Halloween??

And so it will pass. With me being The Shit Halloween Mum. No one will notice, and hoorah for the fact that, only a few days later, I can distract the kids with Bonfire Night…

Oh, Bonfire Night is great! It’s SO easy! You just show up at a bonfire, watch a few explosions, go “oooh and ahhh”, and maybe buy a few sparklers – don’t you love the smell of sparklers? Someone else does it all for you – wonderful. If you do decide to do something yourself (firstly, well done to you) all you need to do is put some sausages on, or some jackets in the oven and a nice chilli – now that I could do. And it provides an excellent opportunity to wear your new winter coat, and for the kids to skip bath time. That smell in the air, all smoky and exciting. The smoke the next morning even, that’s cool too! I’m giddy just thinking about it! Bonfire Night is so much more enjoyable, so much more English.

I have SO many memories of Bonfire Night. Going to a little bonfire at a local pub, with a few crap fireworks and maybe a toffee apple. I still get excited and have that same feeling I did when I was a kid, you know when a REALLY LOUD one goes off!!!

Hang on a sec… I think I’m onto something here. Maybe I’m officially crap at Halloween because we didn’t really do it as kids. So I haven’t got that craving to recreate my own happy Halloween memories like I do with Bonfire Night (or Christmas for that matter – I start planning the food around late October for that one!). And you know what? That’s really selfish. It’s not about me. OK, I’m making this promise. I’m putting it out there. Next year, I am going to be fabulous at Halloween, for my kids’ sake. I’m having a party… and you’re ALL invited. There’s going to be green cakes, tacky drinks, Thriller blasting out on repeat, bobbing for apples, the LOT! Maybe I’ll finally put that Pin board into use…


Are you officially crap at Halloween too? Why is that do you think? Go on, tell us you’ve done nothing either – you’ll make Rachel feel better! 

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