Which is why half term break couldn't of come sooner, we are all tired and grouchy Jake is suffering with his asthma and the dark nights are starting to get me down, and so I was quite happy to have Halloween as a distraction.
We have carved pumpkins - so many pumpkins, and had fun with the cousins, watched films and listened to Halloween music we've really got into the feel this year and it has been good fun and a real celebration over several days.
Yesterday of course saw us dressed up and went out trick or treating, for years I was always unsure if trick or treating was a good idea or if it was begging and the thought of knocking on strangers doors just never made much sense, but my attitude towards trick or treating now has changed and I really do enjoy it and I now think that it can be a really great tradition.
When we were younger my mum never let us celebrate Halloween no real reason she just didn't like the idea of it, and so I always longed to join in with what my friends chatted about at school and whimsically watched American TV shows where Halloween always seemed so much fun, when I became a mum myself I wasn't too sure what to do at Halloween and for the first years of the childrens lives we didn't really do much at all, but once both Jake and Chloe were at school and they started to notice friends talking at trick or treating I decided that I would go and see what it was all about, living in the middle of nowhere we had to travel to the local village in order to join the fun and I was shocked to find that almost every house had decorations and had laid out lots of treats for the kids, it really changed my attitude towards trick or treating, but still I was unsure if it was just an out of the ordinary occurrence because the village was so small and when we moved house in 2011 I really wasn't kean on going Trick or Treating in the new area. Infact I blogged about it at the time (you can read that post here)
However, after blogging that post the children twisted my arm and wanted to go trick or treating here, so I went, but with strict rules - we would only visit decorated houses, knock once only and be polite and respectful to anyone we would meet. I didn't know what to expect now living on a street in a larger village and from my window it really didn't look like anyone had made an effort towards Halloween at all. I genuinely thought we would return home with out having knocked on a single door.
However I was surprised to see that in fact around the corner along the road and dotted across the village there was in fact quite a lot of houses with smiling pumpkins on display and friendly faces welcoming trick or treaters, and a good deal of houses which had really gone all out on the decorations. We returned home with a renewed community spirit after meeting the people we lived close by and seeing how they were genuinely pleased to see us out enjoying Halloween.
The following year we went out trick or treating here again, this time we took along the cousins and we had such a lovely time despite the rain (it really did rain last year!) and again we were meet with so many happy people welcoming us and wishing everyone out in the village a Happy Halloween.
Thats why this year trick or treating was a really big part of our Halloween celebrations - funny isn't it how your attitudes towards things can change.
We do follow a set of rules, which haven't changed, we only go to the decorated houses, we are respectful polite and friendly to all, there is no Tricks - infact we say 'Happy Halloween' when the people open their doors and we wish everyone a good evening - it is great fun not only for the children collecting treats but for those who have put the effort in to decorating their houses and creating little gift bags for those out celebrating.
Yes these people may not be family or even good friends, but everyone shares the same hope, to have some fun and celebrate, everyone who decorates a pumpkin or buys a spooky decoration does so because they want to enjoy the season, the tradition, get involved in some way, join in, giving out a few bits of candy or fruit or party bag toys to the children who live around to those who have choosen to join in, is as much reward as collecting up a big sweetie haul is to the children.
And to those houses who have no decorations, well they are missing out on a really rather nice community event, but that is fine too, I appreciate there are a few trick or treaters who don't have any guidelines or rules and older children who perhaps take things abit to far if they are without adult supervision, and that does spoil it for those who are trying to have some fun. I would not allow the children to do any tricks to those who don't join in, no eggs or flour or toilet paper here and I wouldn't allow my children to go out by themselves (even tho Jake is now 11) When they are too old to come with their old mum they are too old to recieve sweets.
So yes we knock on doors - we take sweets from strangers - we celebrate Halloween and I actually really enjoy it.