Happy Halloween From the Gruffalo Gang

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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.

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Family Fun on the Farms Near London

As I mentioned last year, Americans LOVE the season of fall. And American families spend their October weekends doing Fun Family Fall Activities outside, the main one being a trip to a farm for hay rides, pumpkin patches, and apple picking. I missed getting to do this last year, so this year I suggested we rent a car for a weekend and find a farm near London. We got lucky with a beautiful October Saturday.

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BYOB Comedy

On Wednesday I went to a stand-up comedy show. I know, on a Wednesday, I’m wild. It was also BYOB. But in this case, that meant Bring Your Own Baby.

This company brings stand-up comedy to mums around London. It’s professional comediennes (or at least today they were all women) doing their regular adult bits, but at noon, to a roomful of mums and babies. The entire concept is in itself pretty funny.

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Vauxhall City Farm

I heard about Vauxhall City Farm from a nanny I sat next to at E’s swimming lesson, and it sounded worth checking out. It’s a quick train ride (only about five minutes) from Clapham Junction and then a five-minute walk from the Vauxhall station. And it’s free!

For a “farm” in the city of London to take little kids to, it was really good. There are animal food dispensers so kids can pop in 20p and get a cupful of duck food to feed the ducks and geese, or some grass pellets to feed the sheep and goats. And this was a good time of year to go because OMG BABY LAMBS ADORABLE!

There’s a nice-looking cafe too, and you can host a child’s birthday party there, which I would seriously consider if I hadn’t already booked E’s party for her gymnastics place.

They also offer horse riding lessons there, though obviously that is NOT free.

The only issue was it closes at 4 p.m., which I didn’t realise, and we didn’t arrive till 3:40, so we got kicked out pretty quickly. At least we didn’t have to pay admission. We will definitely go back another day when we can spend more time (and I remember to bring some 20p coins).

The nanny also said there’s a good playground nearby, which I didn’t see but will look for next time we go. May 23 Update: We went back this afternoon when we had more time, and this time I came prepared with 20p coins to buy food to feed the animals. We got to stroke a 2-week-old lamb, which was soft and fuzzy. (Side note: they say “stroke” rather than “pet” here, and I’ve had children ask if they may stroke my dog, and the other day a young boy asked me if he could stroke my baby, which I found hilarious. And he then happily stroked her fuzzy head.)

We had time to go to the cafe for a treat, too.

And then we found the nearby playground, which had a pretty great slide built into the hill, plus an in-ground trampoline.