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'A whole host of Halloween paraphernalia', by Kirsty McCabe

Our weekly columnist pushes away thoughts of Christmas to concentrate on celebrating a family-friendly Halloween

Posted: 30 October 2015
by Catherine Hudson

"Halloween’s coming, Halloween’s coming!" If you also grew up in Scotland then you are probably singing the rest of the song right now. If not, you are probably muttering under your breath about why on earth we’ve adopted this American nonsense. But, as any Celt will tell you, we’ve been doing Halloween for centuries and actually America took our traditions, added in their own and then sent it back over the pond.

Forget trick or treating, we went ‘guising’ as children. This involved dressing up, not necessarily as something spooky, and going round the houses on our street to perform a poem, song or joke in order to receive sweets including the classic fare of monkey nuts, toffee apples and tablet (kind of like fudge but so much better).

Over the years my sister and I developed quite the repertoire, with highlights including our performance of The Farmer and the Cowman should be Friends from Oklahoma, my sister’s Hovis boy outfit when she played the tune on her recorder, and the year I learned to play the violin (quite badly).

Halloween was taken pretty seriously in the town I grew up in. As far as I know Kilmarnock is the only place in the world where we celebrate it on the last Friday of October. No one is exactly sure why, possibly something to do with pay day. It did mean confusion for any newcomers to the town. And double excitement when the 31st fell on a Friday – proper Halloween!

Natural History Museum socks, Sainsbury's bucket, Aldi Dancing Skeleton, Kiddimoto skull helmet

So it comes as no surprise that I have been prepping for Friday, or erm, Saturday, by stockpiling a host of Halloween paraphernalia. Thanks to American influences, this has become even easier with most high-street stores and supermarkets embracing all things spooky.

ASDA has some great Halloween props. My favourites being the Eye-Popping Doorbell and the Creepy Candy Bowl. Unfortunately, these have been deemed too scary by my kids (but they are only aged four and two, and they will learn). An equally scary collection of items can be found at Aldi. I like the dancing skeleton but again the kids weren’t convinced. They had no such qualms about eating chocolate spiders, ghosts or pumpkins filled with mini smarties it must be noted.

It’s not all scary. My boys were more than happy with their Trick or Treat buckets from Sainsbury’s, at just 50p. And lots of stores have cool glow-in-the-dark T-shirts and pyjamas on offer. My budding palaeontologists love the Natural History Museum’s blue dino skeleton socks and my eldest is staying safe and warm on his bike with the Kiddimoto Skullz Helmet and Gloves.

Read more... Halloween 2015 family party ideas, by Party Pieces Rebecca from the UK's leading party company, Party Pieces, suggests ideas for a frightfully fun, family Halloween party

Ethan dressed as a pumpkin

Logan, also as a pumpkin. Looks familiar...

In our street, the officially recognised sign that your home is open to 'trick or treaters' is a lit pumpkin in a prominent position. We actually grew our own pumpkin these year and I’ve got the pumpkin carving kit ready; we just need to choose the template - a great half term activity, if you’re wondering what to do this week! And, of course, we’ll be using a flickering LED tealight once it’s finished. Safer than a candle, and it will make the pumpkin last longer.

As for costumes, this year I’m embracing the fact I am the mum of two boys and letting Frozen into my life. That’s right, I’m going as Elsa. My husband’s outfit is top secret as he wants to surprise our neighbours who are having a big Halloween party (hooray for Americans!) and the boys will probably be Red Power Ranger and Fireman Sam. I say probably as while Ethan loves dressing up, it’s harder to convince Logan. Given his tendency to shed his clothes at any given opportunity he’d happily go as a nudist... but I’m not sure my neighbours are ready for that.

And, if you’re still feeling grumpy about Halloween, think of it this way - at least it keeps all the Christmas decorations at bay for an extra few weeks...

Kirsty McCabe writes her weekly column here on www.juniormagazine.co.uk. Follow us on Twitter: @juniormagazine to keep up with the latest news

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