Autumn leading down to the dark nights of winter has always needed cheering up. Back in medieval times when society was mainly rural the major celebration was harvesttime. The successful harvesting of crops was a real reason to celebrate as lives depended on it. America still has this as a major social event in their calendar in the guise of Thanksgiving.
In Britain however as we became more urban, and farm production was not as immediate in our lives this celebration was relegated to an annual church/school event. Most of us will remember taking packages of fruit/vegetables to display in school, which were later distributed around the local community where help was considered needed.
Bonfire Night became the fun event. This is, of course, the celebration in remembrance of the foiled attempt by Guy Fawkes and his crew to blow up the Houses of Parliament. Our “penny for the guy!” was a replica of the man himself but without him being hung, drawn and quartered, just thrown on a bonfire. Presumably these gory details were never totally explained to the enthusiastic young children who toted him round the neighbourhood collecting money for fireworks. (Or perhaps we were hardier then.)
But of course time passed and “Health and Safety” became an issue. Setting up random bonfires in back gardens and throwing fireworks around for fun was no longer deemed appropriate behaviour! Perhaps the authorities had a point! I am sure our overstretched medical and fire services breathed a sigh of relief. Of course municipal bonfires and firework displays tried to fill the void but bonfire night never felt the same.
Then America stepped into the breach and gifted us Halloween. Excitement without the danger. And “Health and Safety” approved. There might be the occasional mishap on the door to door when an overenthusiastic parent dressed as a dementor (really only there on chaperoning duties) decides to knock on a door, nearly scaring to death an elderly householder bearing treats. But this is small fry compared to the former long queues at A&E.
Children and adults alike have embraced Halloween. But it is not just the day itself. Great fun goes into the preparation. Decorating the house with cobwebs, huge spiders, ghouls, bats and fake blood will amuse children for hours. Turning pumpkins into lanterns creates a wonderful atmosphere. And who does not enjoy fancy dress?? Halloween costumes for children and adults are getting more sophisticated every year.
What to Eat and Drink at Halloween
Once the family are dressed up in their costumes trick or treating can begin. On a wet and windy day this does not have to carry on for too long. Then everyone can return to the host house where a wonderfully gory spread of food awaits. Food colouring can turn simple food stuffs like sausages into ghouls’ fingers, chicken drumsticks into spiders legs. It is easy to zombify finger food. And of course cupcakes with black icing and cobwebby sugar or, whatever takes your fancy. Mocktails, such as halloween punch is also a winner with spooky Haribo sinking to the bottom of the glass. The gruesomeness is as full on as your family’s collective imagination.
And when it comes to drinks …. Mulled wine to warm you up , hot toddies, rum punch. Why not make some spooky cocktails. Go for blacks, blood reds, slimy greens. Frosted glasses are always a good look as well. Use blood bags instead of glasses!!!! Buy Halloween cocktail sticks or use plain ones and spear black grapes turned into eyeballs. The more you use your imagination the more impressed your guests will be and the more fun you will have.
In the enchanting world of Advent Calendars for 2023, discover the origin of the term "Advent" rooted in the Latin word 'adventus,' meaning 'the coming.' Dating back to the 5th century, Bishop Perpetuus initiated a pre-Christmas fast, paving the way for the Council of Tours to officially declare the Advent season. Fast forward to the 19th century, and German Lutherans introduced the first Advent calendars, now a cherished tradition. While kids eagerly await chocolate treasures, adults can savour the season with sophisticated versions featuring miniature bottles of their favourite libations, sparking a delightful new holiday tradition. Cheers to the slow burn of joy!
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