Tag Archives: halloween

Halloween I miss you

Halloween was the very best sort of fun back in the day. Handsome would come home from work, roll up his sleeves and dig out all the soft, pulpy pumpkin flesh. We would lay out newspapers on the kitchen floor and scoop out the insides of two or three very large pumpkins. Then a small Trooper and an even smaller Princess would carefully draw the face with black Sharpie and Handsome would pull out the sharpest knife and start to carve. By the time we were finished it was dark and the perfect time to drop little candles into the belly of the gourds. Costumes would be donned, and then coats to cover them up since it was Montreal and already far too cold. Then hats and makeup, boots pulled up, enormous trick or treating pillow cases slung over shoulders and off we’d go. Handsome and I both wanted to trick or treat. There is nowhere better than our old Montreal neighborhood for house hopping, even people from the burbs would drive over, spill out of minivans and use our roads to collect good loot. So we’d take turns. One of us would stay behind and hand out candy, one of us would take Princess’ hand and guide her up the stairs to each house, prompt her to say ‘trick or treat’ and ‘thank you’ in the smallest voice and then onto the next house. Then home to switch and the other would do another road. We always shared Halloween with the same friends, ate the same blood red spaghetti sauce, drank the same red wine.

A Trini Halloween was fun, as everything in Trinidad was. It was all rum and candy and loud music and it quickly turned into a street party, a lime. Not coats needed there, the teenagers loved to wear the skimpy costumes, to laugh the loudest, come the last. All my students would turn up and show off their imaginative outfits, and share candy with us.

In Uganda we carved a Watermelon, having no pumpkins on hand and Princess had a party. There was no Trick or Treating but we couldn’t drop the tradition. There was still dress up and candy and costume. Then last night, our first Bahrain Halloween and…nothing. We live in the wrong neighborhood for Halloween. I heard there were some parties, some costumes and even some trick or treating over there where the majority of expats live. But it all feels a bit half hearted. So I miss it. And I miss home and our traditions.

So I feel a bit sad today. Halloween I miss you, cobwebs, chilly night, tiny children in oversized witch hats, over eager parents, pumpkin carving, too much candy, non-stop door bell ringing, scary noises, ghoulish over priced decorations, ridiculous merchandise, hand made costumes, competitive parents, many little spider men, princess tiaras; the lot.

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Filed under Family Stuff, Great Big Shiny West

I nearly stepped on a rat and other stories.

Things I nearly stepped on while walking:

A very large dead rat. It was as long as it’s very long tail; it had been driven over and was lying in a pool of its own squelched blood. Its mouth was open and frozen in a rigid expression of silent despair, teeth bared for eternity. As I raised my foot to take a step I looked down and saw it splayed out in its gory splendour. I gasped and grabbed Trooper’s hand, she, stunned herself was hopping on one foot and letting out little sounds of panic. We continued walking, reaching school with beating hearts, wishing we could erase the rat that was now stuck firmly in our mind’s eye.

A dead cat. It had just recently died, I could tell because it had not yet been driven over and squelched by car tires. White, scruffy and wet, it was obviously a stray, with fur that had never been brushed or felt the caress of a stroke. It looked like it was asleep but it must have been hit mid run across the road, probably on its way to grab a scrap of food lying on the other side.

A headless chicken. It was lying in the ditch, dirty, bloody and missing a head. I walked past quickly. Trooper says she is relieved that she is already a vegetarian.

In other more cheerful news:

Exciting things I have done: planned my Halloween costume. I am not one for dressing up but it will be a good party and they won’t let me in unless I am showing some ghoulish spirit. I really am awful at costume parties, being far too vain to throw myself into something horrifyingly unattractive just for the sake of a party. So I have elected to wear a velvet cape dug out of Princess’s special box. I will be royalty of some sort. Not sure Handsome Husband has a clue, especially since I haven’t told him about the party yet.  I am sure something exciting can be found in the special box.

I am still sneaking off to Camp Sweetness. Today we had a pretend birthday party and everyone was a magic candle. Then we all turned into balloons and flew away.

But the best thing of all? Teaching poetry to 14 year olds and the whole room goes quiet. These were the lines:

“I never saw so sweet a face

As that I stood before

My heart has left its dwelling place

And can return no more.”

(First Love by John Clare).

Even the most hardened inmates at Camp Hormone love a good love story. Soft they are, really.

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Filed under Being brave, Kampala, Miss Teacher