Trick or treat?
Over the past few days, I have noticed houses starting to be dressed up with Halloween paraphernalia: webs, witches on brooms, skeletons, and various 'do not enter' signs. Although under present circumstances trick or treating won’t be as prevalent, it does seem like people are still trying to have some fun.
Coincidentally, when writing this, a council circular arrived encouraging us to stay safe this Halloween and Bonfire night. The advice was that we should not mix in each other’s homes, and not to go door-to-door. This year will be different of course with Covid restrictions. My neighbourhood WhatsApp group is busy working out how to allow the children to do something safely. I think they are planning virtual Zoom parties and quizzes. The new normal.
As a child, Halloween activities did not seem to be that common, although celebrating Halloween has been practiced in one form or another for centuries.
One of the interesting aspects of Halloween is one of the possible origins of trick or treating. This may have started in the All Souls Day parade. During this festival, the poor would beg for a soul cake (pastry). In return they would pray for dead relatives. This was taken up by children and called ‘going a souling’. These days the shops are filled with costumes, decorations and of course tubs of sweets to give out to trick and treaters.
In 2019 in the UK we spent an estimated £474 million on Halloween. Staggering! As for the USA… wait for it… in 2019 $8.8 billion. This year, spending is set to be lower.
One of the often cited reasons for the popularity of Halloween in America is its affordability. On the street where I live, each year the local children dress up and knock on doors. Fortunately, the children only seem to call on those that have a sign, such as a pumpkin in the window denoting trick or treaters welcome. I did not realise this. For a number of years I would buy a couple tins of sweets but get no callers, because I did not put out a pumpkin.
Finally, I realised my mistake.
Was I going to share this with my partner, who had not realised either? Not for a while! After a number a years of enjoying my guilty secret (and devouring the chocolate myself), I confessed.
What really impresses me about Halloween is how creative people get with pumpkin carvings. Each year the internet seems to be awash with various collections of carvings, some traditional, others bizarre. A quick search on the internet will bring up lots of easy and creative ways to carve a pumpkin.
Depending on which restrictions are in place, you may want to mark the occasion with some lower key celebrations. Perhaps get creative with a pumpkin carving, or maybe decorate some homemade biscuits with ghoulish faces, hold a Zoom party, or even a classic ghost story? These are all great activities that would work in a care home, too, with your residents.
Whether you’re celebrating virtually with the grandkids, at home, or wanting to introduce some festivities in your care home for the residents, try these recipes out for size. I have included four recipes, two nice and easy, and two although slightly longer, certainly worth the effort.