Ok, so yes, you might feel like you’ve had some Americanised mass market thing foisted upon you, your family and your neighbourhood. Granted that is probably true.
However, it’s possibly past doing the ostrich thing at this point because it’s here and it’s happening – ON MONDAY!!!!
Some tips on prepping the food, kids, house and neighbourhood coming at ya, but first – I have to say I feel I am well qualified to comment on this one. Why? On the family front, I’ve been a parent now for 21 years, so I’ve seen the changes over the years with how teenagers, children and pre-schoolers engage with it, and how it’s become more of an event over those years. I’m also married to the Halloween Grinch so I get the “I’m not good with this” thang.
On the house and neighbourhood front – we live on a road that is to Halloween what Franklin Rd is to Christmas. This is because about 15 years ago a neighbour decided to go all out and make their house the go to scary place. Every year they never fail to impress and increasingly kids get trucked in from various places and dropped off to do the Halloween trail. The neighbours all started to get their act together and decorate their houses – not to the same level, but enough of an effort of make us look like a Halloween set of houses to visit. Our star house in the street has over the years had zombies jumping out of caskets, scary music, graveyards, witches and wizards – all sorts.
So enough about our street – here’s a good tip for yours I’m happy to pass on as it has worked a ‘treat’ in previous years. Some folk are simply not up for the visitors. They feel hijacked at worst and at best embarrassed they don’t have anything to offer and might have been more prepared if they’d had some warning. We got round that by writing a letter for a mail box drop the kids did a few days before Halloween accompanied by a small picture of a pumpkin. It simply said ‘if you are happy to have trick or treaters put your pumpkin picture on your door or letterbox. If not, we know not to visit’. That worked for everyone as the kids in the neighbour also knew the rules to go by.
On the dress up front – it seems anything goes these days. Little people in fairy dresses are all good! We’ve even dressed the dog up appropriately and taken her round the neighbourhood between greeting visitors at the door. Bigger kids get themselves well organised into vampires and the like, and then there are the teenagers. Well, not so sure 14 year old girls in teeny weeny skirts with bunny rabbit ears on qualifies as a Halloween outfit, but I’m thinking it’s just an excuse for an outing. The older teens/ young adults seem to use it now as an offsite excuse for a fancy dress party. The 17 and 21 years olds in our house are off to Halloween parties – one going with mates dressed as 1970s music groupies.
On the decoration front – we have had lots of fun over the years coming up with ideas for the front yard. It’s a great way to get the kids thinking creatively. We’ve propped up put together wizards in broom sticks to sit in chairs, made ghosts with sheets and torches, played thriller out the bedroom window, and last year we arranged a ‘graveyard’ with body pieces and fake blood on sheets. Good, ghoulish fun!
On the food front – well what can I say except to invest in a lot of lollies (wrapped ones as lots of hands going in that bowl!). There are some very cool food ideas out there though if you want to be healthier and more creative with the offerings at your doorstep – or even to offer round at a Halloween party. Here’s a great site I found, complete with mandarin pumpkins, banana ghosts, and cheese witches brooms: http://www.hercampus.com/health/food/7-delicious-healthy-halloween-treats
So have fun, embrace your inner witch or wizard and think of it as chance to meet the local kids and be the friendly, fun house on the street your kids are proud of, and you have a bit of fun with them doing it along the way!
Written by Jude Dobson
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