I’m not sure I can pinpoint when Halloween became a thing over here. We’ve always had trick-or-treaters at our house, but fifteen years ago they were hopeful teenagers wearing bin bags (and, in proper and respectful tribute to their dressing-up efforts, we gave them either a) 10p, b) a slice of bread, or c) the cold shoulder). Now the supermarkets have whole aisles devoted to blood-stained scythes, and our neighbour wished us ‘happy Halloween!’ when we passed her in the street. She’s middle-aged with no little kids, and it might be the first time we’ve spoken to her. Granted, we were wearing Harry Potter costumes at the time. But still. We’re into Halloween now! It’s a thing!
I don’t like the blood stains. But I do rather like the rest of it.
Costumes, though. Suddenly I need to think of two, and can’t get away with skeleton babygros or Spiderman pyjamas. I am not crafty and – sorry – can’t be bothered to get involved with needle and thread. Thankfully Henry requested a crocodile costume, and his father is the sort to say ‘hmm, I think I can do that’ and have a full-sized crocodile head made of cardboard on the kitchen floor when you get home.
So, some green poster paint and white wood primer later (only the best materials in this house), and put together with green pyjama bottoms and a green t-shirt we’d found in the morning, Henry Rex was good to go. For Teddy I found a baby sailor suit at the bottom of his drawer, and for a while wondered whether Victorian Infant Triumphantly Surviving Cholera would be an acceptable entry. Thankfully we decided he looked a bit like a clown, and ran with that instead. Face paint and stripy tights, with helium balloons tied to his toddlebike, and this boy was ready to rock.
Tim and I went as Harry and Hermione. I have a couple of sets of swishy robes left over from university (I will tell the indignant story about how we had to wear robes and a velvet tie to our exams some other time). And the tumbleweed hair I’m sporting at the moment kind of demands nothing else. Did you know Tim has a scar on his forehead in the exact place Harry has his? Tim’s might even have been put there by prophecy and a Dark Lord, I dunno. He says it was some French cellar steps, but we know the truth.
I spent the afternoon making a cake for one of the costume prizes, tripping over small children demanding to lick out bowls, and having a nervous breakdown. Then it was costume time. And we ran into a bit of a disaster with the face paint. After all that grimacing at the fake blood in Tesco, it turns out that clown makeup + Teddy’s dribble = zombie clown with bloodstained bib. We were responsible for the tiny blonde boy staggering around the church hall looking like he’d eaten all his friends. And Halloween laughed and belly-laughed, because Halloween is a sucker for irony.
By the way, the post-Halloween sugar crash? Something akin to rubbing sherbet all over a toddler’s face and sending him running face-first into a wall. By the next morning Henry was curled up on a bookshelf pretending to be a parcel. Do they make hallucinogenic Skittles, now? Because if so, count me in.