When we were little, living at home, we celebrated Halloween simply. We had stretchy black witches dresses that Mum sewed and seemed to grow with us, and she always did a special tea. In fact, one year, she made it look so gruesome that none of us would eat it! We never went out trick-or-treating as I don’t think it was so popular back then, but would have a lovely time at home. Mum had a ceramic cauldron which really was a casserole dish which she would fill with pick and mix size sweeties, and stick plastic bugs to the outside. We always had a carved pumpkin alight as well. In later years, when we were too old to dress up, she always made some kind of Halloween display, and we had the cauldron ready for trick-or-treaters.
A few weeks ago, I was telling her how much I would like to have trick or treaters visit, btu we never do. Our old flat was tucked around a corner, so unless you knew it was there, you would never find it. Our new flat is upstairs and you have to buzz to get entry, which I suspect is offputting to trick or treaters. So, Mum said, why didn’t I go to hers this year? I don’t know why I haven’t thought of it sooner, as I did, and it was the most lovely day I have had in a long time.
I spent the morning with one of the girls I used to work with in my little library on the hill. We haven’t seen each other for ages, so it was really good to catch up. We drank several pots of tea, and watched the sky become sharp with sunlight and then cloud over, the wind whipping dried leaves and branches against the windowpane. From there I met Mum from her work, as she was on a half day, and we shared a pot of tea in the most delightful teashop, Truly Scrumptious. It is the kind of teashop with flowery tablecloths and mismatched vintage china – in other words, the best kind! Upstairs they had rooms full of vintage clothes and china and all sorts of vintage bric-a-brac for sale, and we had a lovely time browsing.
On the way home, we stopped to buy a large tub of marshmallows for the trick-or-treaters. Our plan was to make up little tissue paper pouches of sweets. We had to form a little production line in the end. Mum cut squares of orange, black, and orange-with-black-spider tissue paper, and I filled them with a few wrapped sweeties and a pair of marshmallows, then Dad cut a length of raffia for me to tie them with. We made lots, and filled a little wicker basket with them.
I loved how Mum had decorated the front porch for the evening – there was a Halloween wreath on the door, a pile of pumpkins (not carved, just heaped in the corner, looking beautiful) and a spiders web with a glowing spider in it. In the window burnt the carved pumpkin. It looked very Country Living. I was so excited when we had the first knock on the door! We had so many trick-or-treaterss that we ran out of pouches and had to make more, twice!
I have to say that I know a lot of people don’t like trick-or-treat and think the children are all rude and horrible and will throw eggs everywhere…but my experience couldn’t be more different. Our youngest visitor was a four month old baby called Grace dressed as a pumpkin in her mother’s arms, visiting with her big sister, and our oldest were some teenage witches. Without exception they had all made the effort to dress up beautifully, they all said thank you, they all said halloween, and were perfectly delightful. There was no silly string, no eggs, no toilet paper, just fun. Their eyes were so wide when we offered them the basket of tissue paper bundles, and it was so nice to see something so simple bringing so much pleasure.
Mum cooked a delicious chicken casserole for dinner. I really miss her cooking, living away from home. She is very kind with sharing her recipes, but there is definitely something special about your Mum’s cooking.
Carl came over after he had finished work, and knocked on the door with a ‘trick or treat’ as I had promised him some sweeties if he did! I hope that your Halloween was as lovely as mine.
Love Mimi xxx