In days of yore (well last year and the year before) I had the whole week off for the Halloween midterm. We did things at our leisure, or so my imperfect memory and imagination tell me. (My blogposts tell a different tale). This year, having started a new job a few months ago I’m a bit more miserly with my holidays, so I took two days off.
Last Friday I was off to do face-painting and help the kids dressing up for the school Halloween party, and happily the stars aligned and we were invited to a launch screening of Maya the Bee in the very swanky newly-done-up Vue Cinema in Liffey Valley. Maya the Bee is a sweet movie for younger kids, my younger two (aged five and two) loved it, my seven-year-old despite himself belly-laughed a few times but he definitely felt it was much beneath him and sought solace in other pre-tweens.
The weekend was a slow enough pace, bar a trek to the farthest reaches of Leinster to cheer on my brother’s GAA time in the Leinster Championship, and Monday using the weather as an excuse we lazed and admired Lego creations for the day. Then I realised that we had done none of the Halloween stuff that I always intend to do and that the kids pester me to do constantly. And our seven-year-old was enrolled in camp the two days that i was off so we had very little time to do it before my return to work. Rather than feel guilty at work (I could try not to but that just doesn’t work for me) it was clear that if there was any home-based Halloween stuff to be done, it was today or nothing.
And thus, High Intensity Homemade Halloween was the only option. A busy day, a short timeframe and lots done. It would pay off. It would have to, I wasn’t willing to repeat this one.
I pinterested and pinterested (is that a verb?), being careful to manage the children’s expectations as to what the photo looks like and what we will make will not be the same thing.
We produced black cat from a paper plate, Laoise’s choice, the black paint will be cleaned from under her fingernails for months, a bat from an egg box (apparently our inferior egg box made it look like a pig and this was considered a tantrum worthy event, sigh) and a hanging ghost from a disposable cup. As all the make-and-do box was upside down on the kitchen table and I noticed a cup of PVA glue was dripping from the table Cathal cheerfully reminded me that we hadn’t even BOUGHT our Halloween pumpkins yet and it was surely time to carve them. In for a penny, in for a pound.
I don’t see the pig characteristics at all. I do see the black paint all over my kitchen table though.
We collected Ciarán from his camp and got our pumpkins in Lidl on the way home. Ice-cream scoops and soup spoons were deployed, Laoise declared the smell of the pumpkins “mis-gustin” but we scooped, I inadvertently gave them an eye pencil to draw their designs on and found it worked really well and wiped off after. We did one traditional one and then Cathal did his own, insisted that I carve it and when I did he realised that maybe our design differences had a reason, a reason that was worthy of tears as to how silly it looked. Eventually, and I really do mean eventually, he calmed down and we got on with things.
Then, I remembered the obligatory Halloween baking. I rooted in the press and located the silicon trays in the ghost shape that I have never successfully used before. I sprayed them with cake release spray and melted a bar of white chocolate in the microwave. I poured a thin layer of chocolate into the tray then added rice krispies to the remaining chocolate in the bowl. It didn’t fill the ghost shapes depth wise but I didn’t worry. I left them to set, the cake release spray actually worked and what do you know, I did successful Halloween “baking”. They were thrilled. I ticked all the Halloween boxes in one mental day.
Of course, the obligatory activities were all totally unnecessary. I know this. They made my kitchen messier than ever, twice. They meant I didn’t sit down all day. The kids were whingy and fighty. But I can look at the photos I took and remember the hysterics when we were scooping out the pumpkins and Laoise got a fit of the giggles. I’ll probably remember the issue over the pumpkin’s eye which was eventually solved when Cathal gave him and equally enormous mouth and a teeny nose to balance it all out.
But it also meant that tomorrow we can go to the library or just play lego or sit on the couch without trying to get what the kids consider their basic Halloween activity rights ticked off the list. That makes the really horror of Halloween worth it, I think?
*photos are more rubbish than usual as I took them on my iPad. Sorry.