It’s always extra special when a fixed date event like your birthday or Christmas falls on a weekend (unless, of course, you work on a weekend in which case it’s not quite as special).
This year, fans of Halloween would have been excited about it falling on a Saturday but this Halloween, for obvious reasons, was different and most plans to party will have been scuppered.
As a child, I used to love dressing up for Halloween and trick or treating. I was brought up on a housing development built in the late 60s/early 70s and it was very family friendly so it felt really safe to go wandering round the nearby streets with our torch-filled turnips (I’m not sure if you could even get hold of pumpkins back then) visiting the many neighbours who we knew well, saying hello to their children who were out doing the same.
My husband did something very similar but our daughter hasn’t had the same experience of Halloween that we’ve had. When she was very little, we lived in the town centre and we didn’t know our neighbours. Everyone’s opinions on this will differ but both my husband and I are of the belief that you shouldn’t be knocking on doors of people you don’t know. There could be a vulnerable person behind the door, fearful of who is knocking, and it seems to contradict the ‘stranger danger’ messages from school.
When we moved out of town, we found ourselves living somewhere with very few children so, again, we didn’t really know our neighbours and the same principles applied so she still didn’t go out and about as where would we go?
Then we started going away over the October half-term and this invariably meant we were away on Halloween itself.
She never missed out on dressing up, though. Over the years, she’s dressed up for school or simply for fun and, one year, we did join friends in a nearby village to trick or treat with them … after they said we’d only be going to people they knew well who wouldn’t mind an infiltrator!
She’s carved pumpkins many times and we bought her a spooky gingerbread house this year which she loved decorating (and eating!)
This Halloween turned out to be unexpectedly special for us. My dad got in touch a couple of weeks ago and said he and mum were missing seeing us (a theme for us all this year) and he proposed a series of Halloween barbecues at their house. I have two brothers who are each married with two girls. Under restrictions, we couldn’t meet as one big family unit but one family per day, outside, would stay within the rule of six.
My parents live in the same county as me but North Yorkshire’s the biggest county in the country and it can be up to two hours to get to them if we get stuck behind a slow driver or tractor; a regular occurrence. We therefore only saw them a few times when restrictions lifted over the summer and I haven’t seen my brothers at all.
Our visit was scheduled for Friday and it’s lucky my dad planned it in as we had the announcement on Saturday of England going into lockdown once more and, with the munchkin back at school this week, would have lost our window of opportunity otherwise.
I rummaged in my dressing-up box and found some of my old Halloween costumes for the munchkin and I to change into. I used to be a Brown Owl, running a pack for 7.5 years. We did a few Halloween parties so I had built up a selection of outfits, my favourite being my pink witch’s hat and my highwayman outfit. I’m proud to say I made the cloaks for both outfits and the highwayman’s face covering (way ahead of my time there!) but they weren’t the most demanding of projects.
If somebody had told me last Halloween that I’d be spending this out having a barbecue outside, I’d have laughed at them. However, this is the new world in which we live and we find ways to adapt. It was really quite lovely with the log burner on and LED heating under the parasols. We had a rainy patch where we sheltered under the parasols and a chilly moment after eating when the sun disappeared behind the clouds and the wind picked up but, generally, it was really pleasant.
As for the day itself, hubby and the munchkin watched a horror film while I cleaned the bathroom. Not sure which was the most scary!
If you don’t like being spooked and prefer to stay cosy at Halloween, I did a reading from one of my favourite cosy scenes in Christmas at Carly’s Cupcakes. You can access it on Facebook here.
Wishing you a fabulous start to November and sending best wishes to those who might struggle with a second lockdown. There will be an end to this eventually. It has to rain for us to see a rainbow.