Monday, October 31, 2005

Happy Halloween!

As an American child, Halloween is simply one of the best days of the year-- right up there with Christmas. You get to dress up as whatever you want (pending parental approval, of course), take in some fresh autumnal air, then knock on doors, say "Trick or Treat!" and people give you candy. It's so beautiful, it brings tears to my eyes just thinking about it as adult.

We are, however, not in America. This fact is never so apparent when holidays like these roll along. Now, to give credit where credit is due, the British are trying. Every year, Halloween seems to be getting bigger and bigger, along with the cries about the creeping Americanization of the culture. Our first Halloween here, in 1999, I couldn't even find a pumpkin for my infant son (now the strapping young lad in the middle above). Now, with U.S.-based Wal-Mart owning Asda, one of the largest supermarket chains in the country, it's becoming much easier to find the crass orange-and-black accrutremonts that are essential for enjoying the holiday.

But it's just not the same.

In an effort to maintain a high level of fun and frivolity on our family's life, we hosted our Fifth Annual Halloween Bash on Sunday. We ate pumpkin cookies and pumpkin donuts (the shape, not the flavour), played Pin-the-Nose on the Pumpkin and enjoyed other seasonal (for the U.S., anyway) goodies. [Kudos to Ella (far right in photo) and Kirstin, who have attended every Halloween party we've had here.]

This afternoon, we will attempt to do some trick or treating. But don't be fooled. This is not the fun event of mapping out where all The Really Rich Families Lived so the quality of candy improved. Instead, I have asked many friends and acquaintances if they will be receiving trick-or-treaters today. Some did say no, but I don't hold it against them, because really, it's not a British thing. An older British woman said to me once, "It's just like begging for candy." Looking at it that way, I'd have to agree.

But the boys and I will do our best to make our little corner of London a little like the U.S.-- for today, at least.

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