This is absolutely my favourite week of the year, Halloween and Bonfire Night! Dressing up, yummy things to eat, ghouls, goblins and ghost stories followed by fireworks, the smell of an open fire, hot chocolate and fairground rides. I love it!
When I was really small we lived on an army camp. Being one of the safest places you can possibly live (everyone is signed in and out) I was allowed a free rein of my surroundings. On Halloween Night my friend Cheryl (I know) and I would dress up and go “Trickle Treating”. The house I remember most vividly was just down the road, the lady owned chinchillas, in this massive cage the size of our porch/laundry room. I used to always pick a mask to go with my costume and then 5 minutes after I put it on would remember I hated masks, so hot and sticky!! Yeulch!
I was 7 when we moved to Wales, our house was no longer surrounded by others (there was my Dadcu (Grandad) next door and cousin over the bridge, that’s about it!) so no “Trickle Treats” this year, but there were parties! Mum had made friends with many of the junior doctors living at the hospital where she worked, every couple of months she’d invite them all round for dinner and we’d play games. Now before I explain about Halloween I should probably tell you my mum works in a mortuary. On this Halloween night, five or six guests were sitting in the lounge surrounded by jack o’lanterns when suddenly the lights went out…my mother appeared in the doorway carrying a bowl. “We had ever such a cutie in today” she said sadly “a little boy. He had the most beautiful blue eyes, and little chubby fingers…and oo those entrails…I just had to bring him home!”…the bowl was past round with a flourish, one by one we put our hands in, feeling the cooked spaghetti, pickled onions and cocktail sausages that in the dark of Halloween were something far more sinister. Lots of shrieks and giggles that night!
As a teenager I spent a year living in a more built up part of town. When the end of October came around I was so excited to see pumpkins appear on drive ways and bats in the windows that I asked if I could take my nephews Trick or Treating (had learnt by then!). The best house by far had made so much effort, there were pumpkins all up the drive increasing in size till you reached the front door and the windows glowed red. When Josh knocked a spider (electronic) jumped down from the porch roof onto his head, spun and then slowly climbed back up to its web. The woman who opened the door was dressed as a witch and asked for a trick!! We weren’t prepared! Luckily she gave us some sweets anyway, apparently she hadn’t seen many trick or treaters that evening, after all that effort!!
The university years arrived and Halloween was generally another excuse for dressing up, as if I need one!! The first year I went as a regular witch but once I’d moved in with the girls we had themes to stick to, superheroes and the turtles (being allergic to face paint I opted to be April!).
It was so much fun to go to Fabric Land and plan our outfits!! Last year I went back to Bristol for the first time since moving away for Halloween. The theme for 2010 was anything which begins with H, I immediately shotgunned ‘hooker’. People were asking me whether I was planning to attempt high class call girl or opt for a street corner look, well ladies and gents you forget where I live…I turned up in a rugby shirt with a big number 2 on my back! Yeah, that kind of hooker 😉
I adore Halloween. I love the fables which go with it (any excuse for a story), the movies, treats and traditions. To spend a Halloween in America (where they do it properly!) is on my bucket list, hope I get to do it while I’m young.
And the best thing is, when it’s over you still have fireworks to look forward to! Seriously, that song…the most wonderful time of the year…was written two months late!!!