Wednesday, October 28, 2009


Nappy Valley Girl's excellent blog post about Halloween has prompted me to write about it yet again, even though I wrote about it in 2006, 2007 and 2008!

The kids have been looking forward to Halloween for weeks now. The costume planning started back at the beginning of September. We live in a neighborhood that is a great place to go trick-or-treating. There are lots of kids around the same age as ours and they all like to get together and do the rounds of the houses together. This year they have been trying to coordinate their costumes on a theme. It's working, kind of. My two are going to be a hot dog and a bottle of ketchup. (One costume borrowed and the other bought at a tag sale.) The neighbors' kids are going to be containers of popcorn, candy, and 'a movie'.

It will be a two-day celebration this year as we have been invited to a friend's house on Friday for a 'pumpkin carving party'. (We get pumpkins a couple of weeks or more in advance and leave them out on the doorstep, but never carve them until a night or two before as they start to rot if the weather is warm.) Then on Saturday, one of the neighbors is hosting a party for the kids from 4 to 6, before they all go out trick-or-treating at 6.

Although we really enjoy Halloween, we keep it much lower key than many people. No inflatable lawn decorations for example!

Nor do I decorate the the house inside and out the way some people do. This year I did learn about a new tradition, which I'm wishing I'd heard of earlier because it's probably too late to implement it now. Apparently some people have their children leave the Halloween candy in front of the fireplace when they go to bed. Overnight a witch removes the candy and leaves gifts for the children instead. Of course, the witch must end up very fat from eating all the candy, and that would definitely be a bad thing, but I suppose she could take the candy to work to share. Or not.


nappy valley girl said...

Thanks for the mention.

I think one of the main differences between here and the UK is that here, costumes have moved on from being 'scary' and it is just a chance to dress up. In the UK, it is still more traditional as far as I can see.

I think I might be able to implement the disappearing candy trick. The boys are still young enough not to realise, and they are (so far) not even that keen on sugary stuff. So all the more for me (Oh dear...).

Miss America said...

Oh the decorating...there are two prime examples of why there should be no decorating for Halloween that I pass every day on the way to work. Example 1 has several (and by that I mean at least 4 GIANT inflatable "things" in their front yard. It literally covers the whole thing. Example 2 has recently put up their decorations, because I was taken aback by what I could have sworn were CHRISTMAS lights on their fence. Only when I saw the inflatable pumpkin did I realize they were for Halloween. I have every expectation that said lights will remain up for Christmas. Gag.

Tracie Nall said...

I don't understand the giant inflatable lawn decorations. My mother-in-law goes all out and puts an entire graveyard (complete with hands coming up out of the graves) and a witch stirring a smoking (dry ice) cauldron and spider webs and black lights everywhere--seriously I can't even describe all of the decorations that she is a little disturbing!

The candy switch is a good idea. We don't celebrate at my house, but we do buy the 1/2 price candy the day after.

Almost American said...

I mentioned the 'leaving candy out for the witch so she'll leave you a present' tradition to the kids this afternoon. DD bought into it right away - I think she saw advantages in it as she knows she never gets to eat all her candy anyway! DS agreed with her that they should leave at least half their candy out for the witch! Hmm - now the witch has to go shopping!

The kids saw a house with 'fairy' lights the other night and wanted to know why someone had their Christmas lights up so early. As we got closer we saw that strung along the fence with the white lights were plastic pumpkins.

Michelloui said...

Wow, this is really interesting! Ive been away for so long I really have no idea what Halloween is like now in the States. Leaving sweets out for the witch is pretty clever I have to say. Is there a similar strategy for Easter as well??

Almost American said...

Michelle - I haven't heard of anything like that for Easter. I don't think the candy for the witch thing is very widespread.

If I Could Escape . . . said...

Ooh, I like the tale of the witch eating all the candy -- good idea to get it all gone!! Must have been a very clever mum who came up with that one!

Beth said...

I'm not a fan of the inflatable decorations, but I did miss carving pumpkins this year! We used to carve dozens of them on a farm...jack o'lantern totem poles, giant cinderella pumpkins that spelled out the name of the farm, jack o'lantern caricatures of the farmer.

CDV said...

Really enjoyed this post! I moved from the UK to TN less than 2 years ago so I am still blown away by the American celebration of Halloween as opposed to that which you usually see in England... Those inflatable lawn decorations are a doozy! So much so that I had to mention the same thing on my own blog - glad I'm not the only one who is so enamored by the whole approach! Thank you for sharing.

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