Friday, November 1, 2013

Trick or Treat

Welcome to the first of my (attempted) NaBloPoMo posts. NaBloPoMo is the National (or, really, International) Blog Posting Month challenge. It's my consolation prize this year, as it is, I suspect, for many bloggers who might hanker after doing NaNoWriMo (the 50,000 words in a month on a novel challenge) but can't manage it for whatever reason. (Spellcheck just wanted me to change "prize" in the previous sentence, which I misstyped as "proze", into Prozac. That works too :-)

So I'm going to try to get content up here every day in November. It might be a foolhardy attempt, given my situation with work etc, but I love writing - it's key to my sense of self and wellbeing - so I'm going to try.

I thought I would kick off with a quick look at our Halloween night. Halloween is not something we celebrated at all when I was a kid - I think it was less common in Australia back then, and also my parents, being strict in their religious views, saw it as a pagan / dangerous festival, I think.

I take a different approach with my kids. I see Halloween, especially where we live now, as being about fun, community and shared experiences. It's an opportunity for the kids to dress up, for neighbours to meet each other, and for community to be celebrated. The scary edge to it all - the less-spoken thrill-chill of this, in fact, being the day of the dead - adds a frisson of which the kids are half-aware, as they scout the neighbourhood.

This year, my 10 year old dressed as a medieval princess, wearing a green velvet and chiffon gown that I wore as a bridesmaid in a wedding when I was 24. My 8 year old was a sparkly-cloaked witch, and my little one, C, was a pink mermaid. They  were so excited, laying out costumes carefully on Wednesday night, reading Halloween stories for days before, and planning their route.

This year, about 25 kids trick or treated together, accompanied by 8 adults. About 50% of the houses in our series of courts participated, and had lovely treats for the kids (not just lollies - they got fruit, rice snacks, little toys and muesli bars too). At the end, my lovely neighbour invited everyone back to her house for party pies, scones and fruit / cheese. G went home with my 4 year old, because she was just done in by then, but I took the 10 and 8  year olds for an hour to eat and play and tell ghost stories with their friends. We all then ended up sleeping in my room together, all five of us, which seemed an appropriate way to end the weirding night :-)

All in all, fun was had by all, and I am not concerned that this has been a stronger American tradition until recently - it has its roots in the deep past, after all, and its feet firmly in the kind of positive neighbourhood bonds we want to foster today.

This is post 1 in NaBloPoMo. 1 down, 29 to go!

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