Monday, October 29, 2012

Halloween Time

Around this time last year we were in the US and spent some time in Charlotte with our very dearest friends who will be shifting back to Sydney very very soon.  It was Fall, with beautiful colours, gorgeous temperatures and all I could see was how happy my friend was in her new life here surrounded by beauty and friends.  It was also the buildup to Halloween.  I'd heard about the supermarket aisles full of Halloween stuff (they were) and products repackaging themselves for a Halloween theme (yep), and to be honest I was kind of expecting it to be a little cheesy and commercialised.
But it wasn't.
It seems to me that Halloween was not just about witches and ghouls, but also about autumn and harvests, and pumpkins, masses and masses of pumpkins.  And  instead of it being a few hours  with the local school kids on the rampage bombarding the poor residents of the same streets again, it was more a generic celebration with a slow build, like Christmas.  And classy.  Houses had pumpkins artfully displayed on door steps, there were Halloween displays, but tasteful and thought out.  I loved the feel of it.  I'm not sure if I'm making sense here but my stereotypical image of Halloween in the USA was completely shattered.  And yes, there are trick or treaters, and Halloween parties, and sure there is tack like there is anywhere, but there seemed to be an undercurrent of harvest and genuine celebration.

One night while in North Carolina, while our husbands were at the Nascar races (yes, that's the kind of wives we are) my friend Kristin took our 6 tired and fighting kids on a hilarious trip out to the countryside to a pumpkin farm called Aw Shucks (yes really).  There were big ol hay bales, tractor rides, a corn maze, and pumpkins of all sizes.  I could talk about how on the way to the farm my eldest spilled his 2 litre soda on the floor of the nicest dang fast food place you'd ever see,  or how my youngest screamed the place down after biting his tongue after jumping from a very, very high ledge (and it took Kristin's 13 year old to save the day as we were freaking out at the noise and the blood), or how we heard someone call out for her daughter "Kay-lee, come to momma, Kay-lee? (insert very very strong southern accent)...but really, it was a gorgeous farm in the gorgeous countryside with people having a really pleasant evening buying their pumpkins for Halloween.
Just moments before the ill-fated leap and tongue chomp
It just felt nice.
And so this year, yes my kids will drag out the same costumes and charge down the same streets to see who can get the most treats, but I haven't forgotten my experiences of how Halloween can be done.  And I'm bringing a lil bit of North Carolina back to my street.

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