I didn’t know how much I liked the American version of Halloween (i.e. more fun than scary) until I moved to England and convinced other mums to get into it. And with how excited E and her friends got last year—more than Christmas, seriously—I felt like I needed to live up to last year and put on a great pre-trick-or-treating party to hype everyone up and show them how Americans celebrate a fun night of playing dress-up and begging for free candy.
I wore this tiny witch hat clip in my hair to school drop-off this morning, and got multiple comments on how very American I am, to be all ready for Halloween in the morning. (I also put a pumpkin hat on R and Halloween fingernail stickers on E.)
Witch please. This is nothing. My brother sent me this picture of his neighbor’s house in Portland:
Now THAT’S American.
A lot of houses here have gone all out, too, but it’s primarily spiderwebs and caution tape. Not much room for inflatables in the tiny front gardens.
It still baffles M and me that children dress up in “fancy dress,” aka costumes, for so many different things here–birthday parties, world book day, Christmas parties, last day of school–but then not for school on Halloween. Growing up in America, how much fun was it to go to school on Halloween and see everyone’s costumes, especially the teachers? The more creative, the better. I don’t subscribe to the British way of Halloween costumes being strictly scary–witches, skeletons, vampires, zombies, ghosts, monsters. It’s just too disturbing to see a toddler with fake blood on his face. And excuse me, miss, what are you… a fairy that was recently murdered? Why? There was even a young Donald Trump… shudder.
One woman showed up to school pickup with a knife in her head. But no, I’m the Halloween nut.
We did go more British this year with our kids’ costumes, in another way: my friend Amelia and I dressed our children as all the characters from the beloved English children’s book The Gruffalo. E was the Gruffalo and Baby R was the mouse (her first Halloween!), and Amelia’s children were the fox and the owl.
And who was the lucky one who got to be the snake?
Poor Wren. She hates Halloween the most. WHY ARE ALL THESE STRANGERS COMING TO OUR DOOR ALL NIGHT THEY ARE TRYING TO MURDER MY FAMILY SEE THEY HAVE BLOOD ON THEM THEY ARE SERIAL KILLERS BARK BARK BARK WHY DOES NO ONE SEEM CONCERNED BARK BARK BARK ALSO CHOCOLATE IS POISON BARK BARK IF IT WERE TRICK OR MEAT I’D BE SO IN BARK BARK BARK
She’s the best dog. There’ll be some Gruffalo crumble in your dish later, Wren.
I knew the excitement level would be over the top, and there’d be plenty of sweets, so I made some healthy-ish snacks for the kids before trick-or-treating (we gave them pizza too, I’m not trying to win any mum-of-the-year awards here).
- Banana Ghost Pops
- Vegan Pumpkin Sage Biscuits (if you’re American) or Scones (if you’re British), served with pumpkin butter kindly imported by my in-laws at my request
- Spooky spiders made with this recipe for Deliciously Ella’s Almond and Cacao Energy Bites and pretzels… Yes I realize spiders actually have eight legs, but the pretzels were thicker than I expected, so just go with it, okay?
And with Halloween, R’s first birthday, and Guy Fawkes Day/Bonfire Night (which means fireworks; again, poor Wren) all in the space of one week, it’s just about the most exciting week for E, full of party party party and sugar sugar sugar. Then next week we’ve got my in-laws here, M’s birthday, my best friend Jess and her family coming to visit, and Jess’ birthday, so I’d say we are ushering in the holiday season of weight gain full throttle in just the first two weeks of November. Now bring us some figgy pudding…
HAPPY HALLOWEEN, EVERYONE!