Happy Halloween to all of you who celebrate such things. I don’t. For the last few years I’ve been trying to work out why not. Sometimes I think, “oh stop being so bloody miserable and give out some chocolate to the kids, it doesn’t do any harm!” But that feeling only lasts as long as it then takes me to think, “but it’s just weird having children I don’t know knock on my door to beg for sweets.” So I don’t do anything.
I realise of course, there’s more to Halloween than trick or treating. Pagan festivals, celebrating the turn of the seasons, days of the dead and all that stuff. None of which has even really interested me. And after all, those things are mainly drowned out by the ghastly commercialism of having to dress up and beg for sweets… I’m glad E is still too small for this.
But having said all that, we were visiting my mum and sister at the weekend and my sister thought it would be good to go to a pick your own pumpkin event at Hoo, in Kent. I had absolutely no idea what this would entail so we all piled over there in anticipation. My sister, C, had managed to pack things like wooly hats and gloves for the children and her wellies. E, who we struggle to keep a hat on, and who often waves her gloves about was enchanted by wearing her cousin’s things. This is typical. I, on the other hand, clomped about in knee high heeled boots, sunglasses and a skirt.
Essentially, the event was held on a farm who had grown loads of pumpkins, left them in a field and let the public come in to pick their own. There were masses of them and the event was incredibly popular, with at least one lady dressing as a witch for the occasion. We soon got into the spirit of the thing, despite not really being big Halloween people. The children loved the wheelbarrow – both E and her cousin rode in it, and E liked to push it as well. And they loved finding pumpkins and carrying them across to put in the barrow.
It’s funny, you start off saying, oh just one maybe for carving or something, and soon you find different kinds, with different markings and colours and before you know it you’ve got at least 14 pumpkins and gourds in the barrow. It was great fun. Some of the gourds aren’t edible but look so decorative. This pile cost us £14, with profits going to charity.
We stopped for a drink and so the children could have their picture taken with a skeleton. The farm cannily gave out samples of pumpkin jam and chutney, with recipes on their website. I have also found a pumpkin bread recipe and the chutney will use up the rest, combined with the four enormous Bramley apples my mum’s neighbour gave us. Watch this space for a report if it goes well.
It was a lovely afternoon, the weather and the atmosphere was a lot of fun and for that reason alone, I feel more Halloween-y this year. But I’m still not buying any chocs for the trick or treaters…