The past two months have flown by and I never took the time to document all the ways we celebrated throughout the month of October. I know people have many opinions about whether or not Christians should observe Halloween and in our family, we have are comfortable letting Lena dress up and carve pumpkins as well as trick-or-treat. But more on that later.
I’ve never been to an actual pumpkin patch so this year, I was really excited to experience it for the first time alongside the Bacon Bit. While I’m made for the warm weather of summer, I can’t get enough of the colors of fall. The Undley Pumpkin Patch was beautiful and they had a great selection of all different types of pumpkins, gourds, and squashes. Lena had a great time running around, exploring all the different textures and colors while I played paparazzi on the sidelines.
One of the first things she says each morning is, “Sheep. Baaaa!” The girl is non-stop making animal noises so we thought she’d be interested in riding the donkeys at the Pumpkin Patch. Negative. As soon as we got close, she turned into a little spider monkey, clinging to my neck, so we just gave them a pat and walked away.
Jason’s cousin, Kelly, made Lena this adorable pumpkin shirt so we had to do a mini photoshoot to document the cuteness. I’ve mentioned her business before, but next time you’re on Facebook, look up Pirate Threads. Kelly is constantly adding new designs to her repertoire and has everything from apparel, to garden flags, backpacks and even small gift items. It’s a great place to stock up on Christmas gifts (or just treat yourself to something cute).
We let Lena pick out a few pumpkins then brought them home to decorate and carve. Since I’m almost as scared of knives as I am midgets, I let Jason do the carving and had Lena steer completely clear of all things sharp and dangerous, instead giving her a pot of paint. We taped off the letter “L” and let her go to town. I was hoping she’d help Jason scoop the guts out of the pumpkin but she was not having it. The closest we got was the picture of the innards hanging over her head.
Every year, I have grand plans of roasting a ton of seeds so I’ll have a tasty snack for the duration of the month. And every year, I do roast a bunch of seeds and promptly eat them the same day. This year was no different. Here’s my “secret” – boil your seeds in salty water before roasting them. Then lay them out on a baking tray drizzled with olive oil and douse those babies with all the spices you can find and bake until crispy. I’m partial to Trader Joe’s 21 Seasoning Salute. Mmm… and now my mouth is watering.
Being the little socialite that she is, Lena had a few Halloween party invitations including being the hostess for a party here at our house. Because I love dressing up my human baby doll, I came up with three separate outfits for her. The witch costume only required a black hat that we got at the local grocery store. The cowgirl outfit was all thanks to my mom and surprisingly, quite popular here in Britain. I sometimes forget that we’re foreigners here and things that are common to us are a novelty to the English. Understandably, everyone was really impressed with her authentic cowboy boots. And finally, after many tears and attempts at bribery on my part, I got Lena into this owl costume I had bought months before. The little fur anklets are actually from her Viking helmet but they got the job done.
The party at our house ended up just being a small get together as I didn’t realize it was half term (that’s Brit speak for school vacation). I still had fun designing an invite for our friends, though, and the Sock Monkey and Tiger who showed up made it all worthwhile. How cute are these little munchkins all giggling together on the couch?!
The day of Halloween, we hit up one last party with Lena’s BFF, Di-yang. Alex and Kathryn picked us up, in costume, which I absolutely loved. Next year, we will definitely be dressing up together as a family. The Halloween bash was geared towards older kids with music, disco lights and different stations filled with games and creepy activities. Batman and his owl sidekick were much more interested in the balloons anyways, so it worked out just fine.
To end our October celebrations, we did an abbreviated tour of the village, knocking on doors and listening to the toddler version of “Trick or Treat!” which varied from a quickly muttered “trick treat” to stone cold silence. Our two little monsters held hands most of the time which, as usual, elicited much praise from us parents. There’s no denying that The Diva and D love each other.
Our last stop was at the village pub where everyone complimented the kids on their great costumes and asked us how we liked living in the village. For us, trick or treating gave us a great sense of community and an opportunity to meet some of our neighbors we may not run into during our daily coming and going. Everyone was so kind, engaging the kids with fun questions about their costumes and candy preferences and chatting us up at each house. There was nothing scary or demonic about it and it further reinforced our confidence in the decision to make this a fun family tradition. When I look back on my childhood Halloween memories, the excitement and anticipation of it all is still very real. There was pride in coming up with a creative costume, strategy in how to hit the most houses for the best candy, and the joy and fun that came from running around with my best buddies in a neighborhood full of people who had watched us grow up. Our hope for Lena is that she will have those sweet memories as well.