The rain came down but that didn’t put anyone off. Although only nine houses hosted happenings, the street was so full of children in fancy dress it looked like the set of ET.
As you can see, I managed to make Martha’s cape. I kept putting it off, the material felt so slippery and horrible I didn’t want to touch it, and beyond Martha’s drawing, I didn’t have a pattern to work from – cape construction is not really my thing. But at 5 o’clock this evening I had to face my demons and get on with it. Amazingly it took about five minutes – incredible what you can do when you are against the clock and beyond caring. The drape of the fabric is very forgiving, completely concealing my shoddy pleating. Martha, who had given up all hope of wearing a cape, was suitably impressed.
We are all off to Dorset tomorrow to recover.
I know that Halloween is not to everyone’s taste, but in Montpelier it is celebrated with great enthusiasm (previous years’ fun here and here), though this year’s bash may be a rather low-key affair as it falls in the middle of half term and lots of families are away.
But of course none of this has dampened the girls’ excitement. In fact discussions have been underway for some time now: the picture above, which I thought was just another one of Martha’s endless drawings – she produces a lot – is actually a costume design. A design she is expecting me to follow when I make her costume. From scratch. Today. Eh?
When I complained that I’d had no warning, there was a loud chorus of “but mum you said you’d make me a dead bride/zombie red riding hood/creey doll costume” which, when I glowered at them across the breakfast table, quickly became a slightly sheepish, “well you didn’t say you wouldn’t!” So we are all off to Fabric Land in an hour or so, in search of red fleece, white netting, and whatever else I think I might be able to magic into something spooky with my limited sewing skills. We’ll tackle the pumpkin tonight.
Very sinister goings on in the neighbourhood last night…
I must warn you that once you get past the pumpkin, some of these photographs are a little tasteless. But despite appearances – copious amounts of Ketchup, jam of dubious origin and a very noisy chainsaw (blades off) – it was actually incredibly jolly.
The air was filled with shrieks and screams, and lots and lots of laughter, as a couple of hundred trick-or-treaters were treated to grisly tricks and vast quantities of sweets.
Lots of activity on the street in preparation for our annual Hallowe’en bash. As it’s a weekday, and quite a few of us have been caught out by an inset day today (gah! needed that like I needed a poke in the eye), it won’t be quite as big as last year’s event. But from what little I’ve seen and heard, the houses that are participating will be giving it their all.
I know that people have very mixed feelings about Hallowe’en, but here it is celebrated with such gusto and high spirits, that it’s impossible to resist. I love the way that neighbours whose children have grown up and left home still go to considerable lengths to create spooky happenings for other people’s children. And of course the girls LOVE it. In fact black tights are being sacrificed by scissor-happy children as I type. Hair has already been teased back into the tangled nests I painstakingly untangled last night.
PS Thank you so much for all the sweet comments about Otto. We are all feeling much better about it now. It was certainly the right thing to have done, it just felt so awful having to make the decision.
When I was a child, nothing much happened on the 31st October, the big event was Bonfire night, a week later. But that was before ET. I remember watching the trick-or-treating scene with a mixture of awe and envy – it looked so exotic, scary and fun. The following Halloween my friends and I got dressed up and wandered the streets of Clapham wailing “trick or treat” at bewildered neighbours, who were not prepared, or interested. I think our first haul included an apple and some Rich Tea biscuits. That was until we reached the house of an American couple who welcomed us with delight, wondering what had taken us so long. It transpired they had waited patiently each year, a few sweets at the ready, but no one came.
These days, however, Halloween is quite a big event, particularly in our neighbourhood where it has become a mini-festival. The afternoon starts with face-painting and apple bobbing, costume making and music, all of which is free, and very much aimed at children, but people are encouraged to make small donations which go towards a local children’s hospice. At 6pm, once it’s dark, the Halloween trail opens and bolder trick-or-treaters can visit houses staging ‘happenings’.
This year’s highlights included a ghost leaping out of a dustbin, a ghoul hiding in a woodpile, a small child in a coffin who can only be brought back to life by the touch of another child and an Alan Sugar-style vampire who hired and fired his visitors before sending them off into the night with a handful of sweets.
And in typical Montpelier fashion, there was a little social comment thrown in for good measure.