Saturday, 29 October 2011

The awful preparations begin

Hallowe'en is coming.

Did you know that?

If you live in America, no doubt you do. Admit it, you have been on tenterhooks, waiting to realise this fantastic ceremony for the last 363 days. At this point, you probably need nailing down to the ground and tying up with ropes.

I have satisfactorily avoided the worst of Hallowe'en for years. When I have faced it, I have made it English, of course, so the evening has started with tea and biscuits and there hasn't been much else, apart from a little light whining. When the children have forced my hand, then I have turned it into someone else's problem.

Of course I have dabbled, but only where educationally essential, with Samhain. (Child-friendly version: ceremoniously put two plastic Early Learning Centre cows in a cold oven to mark driving cattle through fire then say that is enough. Colour in a picture of a Celt.)

But all that happy and deliberate ignorance and avoidance has come to a sad end. I have now found that I can escape this junction of time no longer.

The reason is simple. I am surrounded by Americans, and other enthusiasts of the genre. There is no way out. Now even I have horns.

The children of course are beside themselves, annoyingly thrilled at the prospect of extracting candy from the neighbours simply by turning up with a plastic bucket. (I have banned that. I am insisting on coconut shells.)

And the costumes. Godhelpme, the costumes. Today I am pressed into service, thrashing between streets and gutters of Hong Kong grovelling in the ten dollar bins like an old tramp in the park.

The purpose is all miserable, as is the experience. I am scrounging cheap factory reject clothing, so three seamstresses can scurry back to their ateliers and convert discarded nylon into a bat, witch, and some half-baked idea about a demon cat.

But I must salvage something from disaster, and simultaneously claim it is life enriching.

Now I can say with absolute certainty that today has been very good and a brilliant opportunity for our ongoing education.

The children can, for example, practice their sewing, then revisit the following ideas: Customs around the world, Changing seasons, and Why are the Americans so completely crazy for this horrible event?

(Don't ask me, I have no idea.)

The saving moment of a weary day crawling through Sheung Wan's factory rejects.
Being distracted by a stationery store.
Discovering these little gems up the backstreets of old Hong Kong
is like discovering a pot of gold at the foot of a rainbow.

Well, only if you are a stationery enthusiast, and not a Hallowe'en aficionado.

1 comment:

Deb said...

Damn Americans.