A few years back, my eldest child was involved in a Halloween fundraiser for the Junior Thespians Club at school. So I came up with a few “Gruesome Gram” designs. Drawn with felt tip pens, scanned in and printed onto card. Slots for the lollipops were hand cut but were an integral part of the card design… The witch is still my favourite… probably speaks to the bwitch in me.
Halloween in America is a big deal. Parades at school are organised. Teachers take part in the festivities. And then of course there is the neighbourhood trick-or-treating! It’s actually a lot of fun. The sense of cameraderie amoungst the groups of adults as they follow their howling offspring from doorstep to door step is great. We had a rule that the kids stuck together and had at least one adult chaperone with the group, so the risk of them disappearing into the night was minimised, because, of course, it was too lame to go before it got dark! The children have the thrill of ringing doorbells of strangers (without running away and being pests) and of course there is the candy!
In northern New Jersey, the weather is beautiful – not hot or cold, but crisp! You don’t have to cook a gargantuan meal or buy everyone gifts or wonder when the shops will be closing for the holidays. You just have to stock up on candy and carve a pumpkin or two. Some people go all out with their decorations. Our neighbour, Chuck was particularly proud of his life sized witch who “flew” outside his house (attached to a cable between house and tree). Until it got abducted by local teens on a short witch-napping spree (it was returned). The next year he had a man-sized werewolf guarding the door and was much put out when pranksters added a pair of plastic spectacles and a sign “Hairy Potter”. After a bit of a rant, he saw the funny side, and then he found out that we had been the pranksters!
Of course there were town rules that stated that those over 16 were not allowed to trick or treat, in order to cut down on the potential tricking. Although I like this idea of tricky treating!
I have had more negative reactions to Halloween since returning to South Africa. It is not as commercialised, and there seems to be some real fear from some people that it is an occult occasion. Hog wash! There are days like this in every culture.
We are getting more trick-or-treaters in our neighbourhood every year, but let’s face it, in the time it takes the average Jo’burger to unlock all the security gates to hand out the candy, the shine has gone off the moment! For a fun and different, dress-up-and-get-candy experience, try a treat at the zoo! You arrive on the designated day and time, all dressed up with parents and a picnic in tow. And the zoo staff does the rest… Oh yes, don’t forget to bring your bags of wrapped sweets (unwrapped sweets are dodgy and get really gross when a million grubby paws have delved into them) – the trick or treaters go from picnicking group to picknicking group.