Friday, November 4, 2011

All Hallows Eve - A Tale Tricks and Treats

Well - Halloween is over for another year... and although it's not a particularly big deal here in Australia, it's gradually gaining momentum. Somewhat reluctantly in many quarters I might add. Indeed, there's many people that view the whole Halloween thing as being just too American! Indeed, I'm sure that Halloween has become somewhat of a corporate-lead experience these days in the US, but I believe even now at it's heart it remains based on the fun of being a child again. I won't get into the debate about the rights or wrongs, but instead talk about our experience of it.

Actually Halloween (potentially) comes from the old celtic tradition known as Samhain... which links into the newer Catholic tradition known as All Saints Day (the special day to remember all the Saints that didn't quite get a day for themselves... there are only 365 days in the year, you know). Anyway... All Saints Day (also known as All Hallows) is celebrated on the 1st November - and hence the 31st October was known as All Hallows Eve... which became Halloween. Even the 'Trick or Treat' tradition dates back hundreds of years in Europe - but the first recorded reference in the US only dates back as far as 1919 (or so Wikipedia tells me). But there's no doubt about it - the uptake and extra meaning that the US have placed on trick-or-treating has certainly given Halloween it's special flavour... if you discount the rather schlocky horror movies of the late 70's/80's by the same name). By the way - it's also becoming popular in Japan as well... but the Japanese do love any excuse to have a festival!

Well - that's the history lesson... now on to 2011. For the last week or so L-kun has been talking about Halloween... and wanting to do something (like have a Halloween picnic). Well, we left our run with costumes a little late, so L-kun had to make do with some stuff we had laying around. 

Anyhow, last Sunday (All Hallows Eve eve), we caught up with my family... and it was the perfect opportunity for L-kun to practice his T'n'T technique. He gets out of the car expectantly... time for business! Now remember, L-kun, it's all about confidence... just knock on the door and yell out, "Trick or Treat".... L-kun knocks on the door expectantly... ready to yell out... but no sound can be heard.

Alas, everyone's out the back, and L-kun's practice run falls flat. Kawaisou! 

Still, L-kun always enjoys catching up with family - and there were plenty of goodies to keep his belly full (not least of all Grandma's biscuits).

And when we got home... there was something special waiting for L-kun for dinner. A special smoked salmon and avacado rice cake. Ooooh, spooky. And delicious.

And that wasn't all... there was a beautiful plate of scary eggs and carrots - combined with lovely yakitori flavoured chicken meatballs and broccoli. Strangely enough, many kids are scare of broccoli - but L-kun absolutely loves it.

And whilst the proof is in the eating, they also say a picture's worth a thousand words.

As is the case every year, just as we're sitting down for dinner - the kids arrive for trick or treat. Some try really hard, others - not so. But what it did was remind L-kun about what he missed out on last year (we thought he was a little too young to try trick or treating). This year however, at a whopping 4 years old, he was more than big enough.

So we set out - Mummy and Daddy standing well back so that L-kun could show his courage.... which didn't get him far... as he couldn't even approach the first two houses (being too nervous). The first door he did go to, L-kun knocked so softly that I think even he couldn't hear it... with a trick or treat... no one answered. Next door... Mummy and Daddy moved a little closer, and the knock was just that little bit louder. No answer (of course - who answers the door if everyone trick-or-treats?) On the third door - the door opened... L-kun jumped back (L-kun, it's the people on the other side of the door that should be scared!). Still, the lady was very kind and gave L-kun some candy. He was so happy that his courage had been rewarded.

Successively he was getting braver and lounder... and before long he was running up to doors with a KNOCK KNOCK TRICK OR TREAT! But it was getting late, and a walk around our block was enough for his first T'n'T. He didn't want to stop, but he was satisfied.

And once he was home, it was time to get out the spoils of his work, and do what all clever boys want to do. Count it. Gotta make sure you know how much candy you're putting away. Just in case.

And once you've counted it... then you may as well eat it!

But watch out... who's that behind you L-kun. It's Mummy making an extra special Halloween cameo performance! And she looks like she wants to eat a little more than just your candy.... bwaaarrrgghh!

So in the end, I would have to say that we felt that the whole Halloween, and especially the Trick or Treat, was a great success. It was good in that it was:
  • a source of much expectation for L-kun... and like all festivals, it's nice to mark special events throughout the year
  • it also showed him about how to approach other peoples houses (and we discussed the safety issues about this - especially when meeting strangers)
  • it was so fantastic to watch his confidence grow and grow - as he became more courageous
  • it's a good time to talk about how to handle when things don't go the way you want (like people not answering, or worse yet... not having candy). The last point was a lesson for L-kun, as he started to say 'that's not good' when there was no candy on offer. Needless to say, mummy and daddy had a few words to explain why that wasn't appropriate.
  • but most importantly it was a fun evening... even if a little quiet here in Adelaide.
  • oh... and did I forget to mention the candy (which he can have one a day....)
So I hope you all had an extra special Halloween this year. And that you didn't have too scary an evening!


  1. thanks for the history lesson on halloween. i've always wondered what it represented. it seems funny that they honour the left over saints with some ghosts and ghouls. good to hear that l-kun's confidence increased with each house call, confidence fuelled by candy? :-)

  2. Actually I realised now that I missed the important thing - why is Halloween about ghosts... which certainly in the celtic belief represented the time when the worlds of the living and dead were closest - and the spirits of the dead could walk the world..

    As for L-kun's confidence - definitely au natural. However, I can't say that it wasn't in fact fuelled by the prospect of candy...

  3. A great Family Halloween and good to see it is becoming more popular in Australia, especially with the younger generation. Sounds like it was a great confidence builder and learning experience for L-kun.

    Japan Australia

  4. J_A... it certainly is becoming popular (for good or bad). I'm not entirely sure that it's just restricted to the younger generation however... as I'm sure there's plenty of Halloween-style parties going on as well.

    And yes - it definitely was a good confidence builder for L-kun.