It has become a tradition at Mudchute to have a Halloween celebration. Either in the courtyard or the barn, we have gathered together, surrounded by the autumnal beauty and serenity to share a bit of a raucous family time.
Extraordinary outfits have been paraded around and extravagant pumpkins have been carved and presented for awards. It has always been a time when our community is at its craziest and most friendly.
But this year we can’t all meet together. So we have been exploring new ways to celebrate new and old traditions that surround All Hallows’ Eve.
Firstly of course, we still want to see your incredible pumpkins and outrageous costumes. Please send us your photographs and we will share them on this blog.
In my memory this time of year was exciting as a child, because I didn’t often go out in the dark. Maybe that’s not quite right. Maybe I didn’t often go out to enjoy the dark, to celebrate the night time. Halloween if a time to allow ourselves a little shudder of fear, a half caught glimpse of something that we don’t understand.
I have friends who grew up in other parts of the UK who tell stories about ‘mischief night’ which falls at about this time of year, when the children would play practical jokes on the grown ups. This is because it was thought, many years ago, that cheeky spirits, like imps and fairies would be up to all sorts of tricks on Halloween night, and the children thought that they could lay the blame for their pranks on these supernatural creatures. Perhaps that is where Trick or Treat comes from, the idea that children will play a joke on you if you don’t bribe them to go away with sweets!
Right now it feels important that we let our children have as many amazing memories of this year as we can. So we come up with a couple of Halloween ideas for you.
Trick or Treating isn’t really possible this year. So in my street, where we all made friends playing during lockdown, we are going to decorate our front doors. After all, Halloween falls on a Saturday this year, so we should make as much of it as we can.
Here is a very easy and cheap idea. Satsumas, or Clementines or Tangerines or Oranges and all really delicious at this time of year. (Did you know that all of them taste very different to each other? Try a taste challenge to discover just how different they are.) You can decorate them as little pumpkins using a permanent marker pen. Children are great at doing their once they have got the visual joke. It is a lovely little gift for a child to make for an adult or a friend as well as being an inexpensive way to have a lot of pumpkin faces around the place.
Another idea is to warm some apple juice in a saucepan and add cinnamon, cloves, a little nutmeg and other spices that you may use in mulled wine. Let it simmer for a little while to let the flavours brew and serve it warm, not hot. It makes a really lovely wintery drink for children and can become a seasonal family tradition.
Finally there is a nationwide pumpkins trail being organised. If you remember how we put rainbows or teddy bears in our windows at the start of lockdown in March, you will get the idea. It is designed to be a memory marker for children who can’t Trick or Treat, but who instead can go on a pumpkin spotting tour of their neighbourhood.
There are lots of fun Halloween based art activities, spooky food ideas and games and you can share pictures of your Halloween stuff there as well as sending them to firstname.lastname@example.org
You can find out more about this trail on Facebook. Search for ‘The Big Neighbourhood Pumpkin Trail!’ or visit www.artadventures.co.UK/the-big-neighbourhood-pumpkin-trail.
Remember please that our children need as many good memories of this year as they can possibly get.
Let’s make it wonderful for them.