Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Pumpkined Out

Phew, I’m pooped and I mean really done in. All this Halloween schmarky is totally wiping me out. Apart from the usual school run and play dates, my weeks are now jammed with pumpkin and Halloween events galore too. My feet have and will barely touch the ground in October.

I swear, autumn in England wasn’t this exhausting. But here? It’s one social event for the kiddos after another. Here’s a snapshot of how my calendar looks:

Saturday 11 Oct Pumpkin carving and pumpkin bowling at local farm. Plus a nature trail and pony rides if you weren’t already stressed and knackered from arguing with the kids over your pumpkin designs, and chasing after them and their escaping pumpkins.

Sunday 12 Oct Cider Mill visit. More soaking up of fresh air by walking through the wooded glades with the promising reward of some hot doughnuts (donuts – tsk!) and apple cider afterwards. (Why oh why is the cider non-alcoholic over here? Call it apple juice please.)

Saturday 18 Oct We go here, Blakes Farm, another Cider Mill, to pick pumpkins for the children to carve at home. (See the size of those things?) Plus we spend a lovely half day racing round the Barnyard fun – a 3-level haunted barn, a hayride through the apple orchards, and a train ride through the same apple orchards, more pony rides, and a pumpkin shaped bouncy house. Then we climb the biggest haystack I’ve ever seen, get lost in a corn maze giving any parent a heart attack as their little ones run off out of sight, feed the chickens and the goats and eat more doughnuts.

Sunday 19 Oct Neighbour’s Halloween party. Ten little ones 5 yrs and under all running around in their Halloween costumes and screaming at the fake eyeballs lurking in the bowls of spaghetti and sauce.

Wednesday 22 Oct Me and the boys pile in the car and head to a local mall to watch Boogah and Hoogah’s Halloween Houseparty! A cute Halloween themed mini musical show with Bippety Boolarina, (a twirling pixie ballerina) that impressed Monkey so much, he was straight down the front into the toddler mosh-pit twirling his little jean-clad legs like he was in the Bolshoi Ballet. Had to come home and have a nap after all that excitement.

Saturday 25 Oct Straight from Cheeky’s swimming lesson he’s off to a Spooktacular party at RARA (a community centre that runs toddler classes.) He will don his Halloween costume (he’s a Storm Trooper) for the 4th time this month, and spend a couple of hours sans parents making a pumpkin craft, eating pumpkin shaped cookies and playing pumpkin themed games. (Just as well he likes pumpkins.)

Meanwhile, his parents will be running his brother across town to a 2nd birthday party. This one, thank goodness, has nothing to do with pumpkins and is themed ‘Space Camp’. A rocket ship would be very handy at this point, as five minutes into that party I have to go get Cheeky from the Spooktacular party, de-robe him from planet Halloween and dock him back at Space Camp.

And the day of fun doesn’t end there. Oh no.

At 6.20pm we have to charge to yet another location and go to a local Nature preserve for a Halloween Hoot. This involves taking a 45-minute candlelit walk, to meet fairytale characters and watch short skits. The evening includes cider and doughnuts (Of course. Everything you do in America includes food) and a campfire with entertainment.

Sunday 26 Oct No lie-in for us! Today we’re off to Hess-Hathaway Park, a farm park for a hayride with friends. We won’t be partaking in the cross-country skiing (the snow’s not here just yet) but am sure we’ll be feeding the animals, walking the hiking trails, checking out the playground and bumping around on bails of hay as the tractor pulls us along through the woods. Oh and no doubt, cider and bloody doughnuts will be served!

Tuesday 28 Oct Halloween costume party at Monkey’s toddler class. Bet we have to carve another pumpkin! (He’s dressing up as a monkey too by the way) but if I’m offered another cup of cider and a doughnut comes anywhere near me, am jumping on that plane and heading back home!

Thursday 30 Oct Cheeky’s school Halloween party. Will have lost count of the number of times he’s worn his costume by this point. Then it’s a quick dash to the airport to collect one of my best friends from the UK who is flying in for some trick or treating. I will need the job lot of PG Tips tea she is bringing; to stay awake for the next 24 hrs of catching up we are looking forward to doing.

Friday 31 Oct Halloween is here!!!! And we’re starting our family celebrations with a drive along Tilson Street Halloween Haunt . Apparently the decorations are astonishing and it’s like driving through a Halloween movie set.

Then, back to our house to light the pumpkins on our front steps for the neighbourhood trick or treating. The boys will be in heaven and are sure to be on candy-overload for the rest of the weekend. Great!

Saturday 1 November SLEEP, SLEEP and hopefully more SLEEP!

They say it’s tough to keep up with the ‘Jones’, I say it’s tougher to keep up with the Americans at this time of year. Tell me, how are you celebrating Halloween?


  1. What is it with the pumpkin fetish? Is there a very active Pumpkin Farmer's Union or something?

    I will be spending Hallowe'en with the lights off not answering the door to the local West London 'youth' who have adopted trick or treating as their own. With a distinct and menacing empahsis on the 'trick' element.

  2. Pumpkins? Cider? Doughnuts? Am coming over to you!

  3. I am looking forward to the full Pumpkin treatment next year in the US! My boys are still a little young for Halloween but I'll be stockpiling some sweeties for the local trick or treaters and ignoring any horrid youths who might come later on in the evening...

  4. But it's fun - you have to admit. Last year we took the kids out around the streets, and my 15 year old finally realized that the stuff in all the parents' cups was actually (gasp) beer or wine. She was outraged. How else are we going to keep warm?
    We have to decide on little one's costume this weekend as every bloody activity he does next week has asked for the kids to come in costume. Except swimming that is.

  5. Hopefully next halloween with you.
    Sounds fab.
    Can't wait!!
    I will be dressing up as a witch and scaring the local children...

  6. In Australia Halloween doesn't exist.

    And that makes me happy. Christmas is bad enough!

    How do the Americans cope (financially and emotionally), Halloween, Thanksgiving & then Christmas. I'd have to get another job to finance it all.

  7. mitc - hello - euch don't get me thinking about pumpkin fetishes too. Am sure the things some folks get up to in their rural pumpkin farms cannot be printed here!
    Sounds like you have the right idea about how to spend the 31st in London. I used to use all my extra locks and bolts on that night when I lived in not the nice part of NW London...

    nmoo - Oh goody. I have plenty to spare!

    nvg - You and your boys will love it. so much to do for every age child. I may be exhausted by it all, but each event had been a delight.

    em - Yes, I do think it's fun really. Am laughing imagining them asking for our kids to come to swim class in costume too. The boys would all be Michael Phelps wouldn't they?
    So funny your teenager is outraged at the realisation that the parents might actually be having fun on Halloween too!

    accttf - Dearest dearest most missed one, how bloody brilliant it would be for you and the girls to be here too. You need to come for the whole month of Oct though to make sure we can do all the activities!

    qlddeb - hello! You make a fair point. It is one expense after the other. no wonder the country is in gazillions of dollars worth of debt. As the credit crunch affects us all, I haven't seen many of my neighbours tightening their belts over the halloween decorations so far...

  8. You have it all wrong~

    In addition to November 1st you need to start planning for Thanksgiving, all your play dates will be centered around Pilgrims and Indians. While trying to be politically correct. The day after Thanksgiving with be the time you start Christmas shopping and planning for New Years.

    You will be able to relax come July!

    Welcome to the madness!!!


  9. Wow..! Great calender.. You are going to be Rock this Halloween.

  10. Living in the UK, we'll be waiting in for local children to call and threaten us for sweets and hoping that we don't wake up the next day to a smashed window or a car mirror missing. The local police will be out in force.

    Have I got this wrong - aren't they supposed to be asking us for a trick or a treat? (ie sweets or an apple core) That was the impression I got from Charlie Brown when I was little.

  11. Wow thats a full calendar

    We're going to carve pumpkins and go trick or treating.
    That's it. Nice Storm trooper costume. My son is going to be Darth Vader they should get together :D

  12. Mercies, you'll need a big drink of not apple juice after all that !

    I myself will be going away for the weekend hopefully with IT God, due to work stuff we've hardly seen each other for the last 6 weeks, so keep your fingers crossed that the IT industry doesn't go into meltdown without him !

  13. THat Storm Trooper costume is brilliant. My son would snap his hand off for that!

    We LOVE Halloween in this house and usually just dress up and play games and turn the lights out to scare each other which is kinda funny to begin with but when they've said 'boo' for the 29th time, it's somewhat tiring!

  14. WOW Im glad its not that mental over here....... we dont make a song and a dance about it for weeks before.... just usually on halloween night....


  15. Ok I'M worn out by that schedule. Oh my boys would love the Clone Trooper - last year they did Star Wars and went as Darth Vader, a storm trooper and the baby was Yoda - complete with the ears.

  16. Totally with you on this one - it's crazy!

  17. Wow you are busy, wears me out just reading about it lol

  18. I used to have a very different view of Halloween before I got married and had Small child! Alone in flat with teenagers shouting obscenities down my entry phone system - no thanks! However... Small Child dressed as a pumpkin (sorry, yet more pumpkins!) and running to the door to answer the trick or treaters.. love it!