Saturday, October 31, 2009

Happy Hallowe'en

Ok, yes, I know, it's a vile piece of brash American commercialism, but producing all the tat and growing all the pumpkins and stuff keeps people in jobs - no bad thing in this climate. It is indeed a day full of horrors, as Lewis Hamilton being on pole position in Abu Dhabi shows. The Red Bulls being ahead of Rubens Barrichello isn't good either so the chances of me being in a huff tomorrow afternoon about this time are quite high - I want Ferrari to get back their 3rd place in the Constructor's Championship and Rubens Barrichello to come 2nd in the Drivers' race. Neither option seems very likely at the moment.

Anyhow, I digress. Back to Hallowe'en. If you have a child, you are kind of sucked into it all and you might as well go along with it willingly.

I have to say I'm a bit of a purist. I don't like the idea of Trick or Treat. In my day, you went guising, you had to sing a song or tell a joke before you got your sweets or nuts and you certainly didn't complain if someone gave you an apple as happens today.

Last might was my first venture out after dark in months as I'm usually too exhausted to do anything in the evenings. Anna went to a friend's house for the afternoon, though, so I had a rest before heading out to the Fright Night at the local farm park.

We took two of Anna's friends with us. I suspect that when they were a couple of years younger, more things would have actually scared them. Instead they were high fiving the "ghosts" in the trees on the trailer ride round the "Fields of Doom". There was one point where the picnic barn had been transformed into a haunted house - duly notified outside "We are sorry that this picnic barn is currently haunted. Please look elsewhere for a space to eat your packed lunch". There was one exceptionally dark part that the girls wouldn't go in to. My husband had gone off somewhere and one of them said that we'd have to wait for him to get back. This set me into a fit of feminism so I announced to them that we did not need a man because it was scary. We would do it ourselves. So, we all held hands and went through the pitch dark scary house. I will admit to hating every second of it, but that's not the point.

The staff at Almond Valley Heritage Centre had put on a great event, with apple dooking, eating doughnuts from strings (oh dear - a recipe for spreading germs, but so what?), fabulous costumes, scary werewolves, a pumpkin lantern trail and a ghost train (which we didn't get to go on because it was sold out by the time we arrived). We've had a membership there for virtually all the time since Anna was a baby and we go there a lot. At the moment, they have the cutest, tiniest baby bunnies (don't tell our Benjamin and Patches I said that) I've ever seen, too.

I was so shattered by the time we got home and I've felt really rough today, but I'm glad we went. All the girls had fun.

Now we have to get our little devil dressed up to go guising. Whatever you're doing tonight, have fun.


jeremyrowe1 said...

Good piece (not sure about the Lewis abuse, though). It all points to an exciting season next year: a British reigning champ, the world's second best driver (Alonso) in a Ferrari and the return to form of the McLarens (piloted by the genius of Lewis Hamilton).

Caron said...

It wasn't really Lewis abuse, to be fair:-). I can be a lot worse on that front. I'm just not happy he's on pole when Kimi's down in 11th. Those two being team mates next year is going to be interesting.

McLaren having a deal with Nestle means they're completely off limits for me now, although I had to take a huge interest in them in DC's days.

It is going to be a cracking season next year, though - nobody will have the chance to build up the advantage Brawn did at the start of this season, I think.

Heaven knows how I'm going to cope with 4 months of no F1...Am having withdrawal symptoms already.

jeremyrowe1 said...

I call those four months 'the dark months'...

Roland Hulme said...

"'s a vile piece of brash American commercialism."

Oh, good Lord. Please don't write rubbish like that. It makes you sound like some sniveling Guardian hack.

I'd really suggest you come to America and have a good, old-fashioned North Eastern Halloween before you dismiss is with that snotty, blithe Anti-Americanism that seems so popular amongst so-called 'liberals.'

Halloween is a great holiday because it's rooted in American tradition - it's originally a Celtic festival and that links into the roots of the millions of Irish immigrants who came to New York and Boston. Witchcraft (or fear of it) is a rich part of the American tapestry - Salem witch trials? Stories like The Headless Horseman of Sleepy Hollow?

Halloween is one of three American holidays that's largely secular, meaning it gives everybody an opportunity to share in an event that isn't tied to a religious festival.

It's also great fun for the kids and, as you cynically mentioned, a huge boost for the economy.

The way you blithely wrote that smacked of ignorance and snobbery and having read many of your posts, I personally think that kind of attitude is beneath you. You're better than that.

Caron said...

Roland, I'm feeling suitably chastened by your comment.

I can't think of anything nicer than being in New England in the Fall and I do understand the importance of Hallowe'en along with 4th July and Thanksgiving as secular holidays in the US.

I just feel that many of these festivals have become to brashly commercialised and incite us to spend money and resources that we don't really need to. I suppose it shouldn't be singled out in a part of the world where we vastly overconsume anyway, but I prefer to keep things a bit simpler. It's the same with Christmas. To me, it's a time to cosy up and spend with family, watching my daughter enjoy the wonder of it all. Sure, we eat some lovely food and play lots of board games, too, and decorate the house, but we don't need to spend a fortune on it.

One thing I'm slightly uncomfortable with, and maybe I do need to see what it's like in America, so maybe you could tell me more, is the practice of trick or treating as opposed to the more traditional guising we do over here.

When I was little, you would go to someone's door and be expected to tell a joke or sing a song before you got your sweets. I find the idea of saying "Trick or Treat" to someone quite rude and especially if it means that property gets damaged.

Again when we were little, we had fun making decorations ourselves -opening a packet and hanging up the contents might be more convenient but less enjoyment for the kids in the long run.

One American tradition which is a good thing, though, is the use of pumpkins as hallowe'en lanterns. They are a million times easier to carve out than the turnips of my childhood.

I'm actually quite a fan of the US having been fascinated by its politics since the Reagan/Carter presidential election when I was 13.

Sorry if I offended you - I don't normally give in so easily, but I can see that you have a point.

Roland Hulme said...

Hi Caron,

Thank you for your thoughtful response - it retrospect, maybe I jumped off the handle a bit. I just get a little tired of reading blithe, dismissive comments people make about America and hadn't expected them here.

And in my defense, having worked in Paris for four years, I get just as annoyed with the blithe comments Americans make about the French. It's all very amusing to dismiss them as 'cheese-eating surrender monkeys' but remember that there wouldn't BE a United States without France to have helped them defeat the British.


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