Friday, 30 October 2009

OK, I will do pumpkins. But stop it with the Haribo.

I hate Halloween. I do not know what it is for, except as a useful commercial enterprise for that lean period before Christmas. You know, that happy end-of-year time when people lose their reason and ability to count, like you need reminding every second of every day how many minutes to go before you are declared bankrupt.

And of course, like every other miserable antisocial parent in the UK, because it is Halloween and that is such FUN I have to slap a grin round my cheeks and pretend my life is now complete and yes, why don't you wrap me in bandages and bury me in the garden because that will make the day for you so much more FUN.

Of course, because we home educate, that means we are going to have a fantastic time. Better than a hundred million fantastic times rolled into one, because Halloween is not only such FUN, I have to make every one of our damned learning experiences FUN at well and this is an opportunity to make more educational FUN out of a damn learning experience than we ever thought possible.

But forget about the trick or treating. I draw the line there. Did we suck that one up from the USA? I swear before three years ago I never heard of that. And I am so peeved that I didn't think of it. I could have made a fortune in protection money and settled a few local scores properly. Like sending my kids off into the dark and stormy dimly lit street dressed as vampires to threaten Mr Arse that if he doesn't hand over the Haribos they'll slash his car tyres and shovel shit through his letter box. That sounds like a fine tradition worthy of Smalltown. I could start that.

Oh if only Halloween could stop there. There's yet the bloody pumpkin.

Who ever saw a damn pumpkin like these great orange globules until a few years ago? Now we all have to dance round the sodding bonfire cavorting with pumpkins like they've been doing this in Berkshire since the time of Henry II.

OK, maybe they have down there, but the pumpkin carving might push me over the edge. It is the first reason why I am so sharp on my wits, heels and telephone dialling finger today. I see there is a community arts event down the road in which you can carve your own pumpkin and then go off to the spooky night Halloween party with a torch to scare yourself witless, find all the spooky creepy carved Halloween faces, and fall into a ditch. Sounds fantastic.

Shark is dead keen and within ten seconds of me mentioning this opportunity, she is bounding off the walls, fully dressed and ready to go.

She knows the difference between promise and action. I promised faithfully, really cross my heart and hope to die, that I would carve that pumpkin. The same one that two weeks passed by and it started to corrode from its own fermenting acid and was sat in a pool of slime that looked like pumpkin piss. It stank something rotten, which only increased my reluctance to go near it, even though I knew, I really did, that from this point it wasn't going to get any better.

I still left it for three more days. I couldn't pick it up. All the flesh had rotted away and it was only kept in some sort of round shape due to the near-exploding pressure of the internal compressed gas created by its own rotted guts.

Two weeks after Halloween had been and gone, the only answer was a face mask, a bin liner lowered over the pumpkin from hell, and a shovel, to scrape the dead and diseased item off the worksurface. Two years later I can still see the stains.

So with the sniff of a pumpkin carving session by day and a party session by night, all laid on by someone else, you can bet that I am down there on the dot to enjoy it.

And those wonderful welcoming smiling people do lead that session, properly and smartly, and make a big party atmosphere from it. I cannot thank them enough for that, for making it all so exciting and funny, all day long, dressing up pumpkins, making clothes for shadowy shapes, then dressing them in sparkly twinkly fairy lights and hiding them all around a big old rambling party garden.

By the darkness of the evening, Shark, Squirrel and Tiger are so proud and excited, they're all this way! that way! look over there mama! I maybe might admit they're all cute again, even though they're tugging my clothing in three different ways at once, and chattering in every direction which makes it impossible to know without possessing six ears which way they want me to come and find the best one yet!

Which makes me love the happy smiles on their faces and their delighted excitement and howls of oo ooo oooh! at those jumpy shapes and shadows in the dark. And then the cute way that Squirrel hugs me tight just because she needs to and I am there for her, even in the dark in the garden, with pumpkins on sticks, and stupid misled foolish Grit, says Yes! That's fantastic! You are right! The pumpkins are brilliant! And I love Halloween too!


sam said...

ah..we too had a festering pumpkin, one knock on the door ignored by my children who were 'really into' Halloween but it clashed with watching Merlin.Now I'm stuck with a bag of Cadbury stuff in the pantry that I shouldn't eat but probably will.
Happy Halloween.

Rachel M. said...

Oh yeah! You came around, was worried there for a minute.

I recall a year in college when I thought it a good idea to carve a pumpkin, never got around to it and some time later, a friend spotted it rotting on the porch and lifted the stem right off the pumpkin which had melted into the porch. Now that is freaky!

Wife in Hong Kong said...

Dear Grit
I found a picture of your lovely girls in the Sunday Times magazine this week (along with Belgian Waffle,s!)and reading the article was totally astonished to find your oh-so-generous and undeserved description of me. This is the first time I have returned to the blogosphere since June and that article has made me think I could get started again. I've missed you all!

mamacrow said...

i too thought trick or treating was some american travisty, but having develved into it a bit it seems to be from some related northern traditions.

pumpkins - it used to be turnips over here, interestingly!

kellyi said...

Your girl looks proper freaked in that photo!

Grit said...

sam, eat the cadbury's, quickly. you are saving the children and it is a selfless act.

it is amazing how pumpkins disintegrate rachel. i should've made a biology lesson from it.

wife in hk! just stand us together, tell everyone that the short fat hairy one is Grit, and I guarantee you will not hear 'give us another clue! I can't tell them apart!'

it would be lovely if you started blogging again; i have often wondered how you are all getting along. let us know!

mamacrow, Dig from the north says the same; and he says for the pumpkins they used neeps (northern code = swedes). but they are ridiculously hard. have you tried carving them? book your taxi to A&E finger sewing dept first.

kelly, isn't it an amazing shot! i can't even claim the credit for it. they were photographing each other's faces while telling stories about the creatures that live in the fire!