Sunday, 1 November 2009

Halloween Hell

Sproglet looked at me as if I had asked him to eat only greens for the next 10 years. No amount of cajoling, clapping, or praise was going to get his tiny butt into the Bat costume. He had liked it - but now, now he was refusing to be anything other than Spiderman. This - at 8:30am on a Thursday morning as I raced to get him spruced up for nursery in full Halloween attire. There aint a lot of improvising one can do for Spidey. I used some face paints and drew Spidey features on his rosy wee cheeks. Crucial error - (memo to self) I should have done the red base first. Instead, I drew out the black web and then had to fill in the blank spaces so Sproglet ended up looking like a creepy harlequin. He rushed through the nursery door shouting 'I am spiderman!' and all the kids were like 'eh?'

Determined to get it right for the local Halloween party on Sat I spent an hour online finding a padded muscle spidey costume with next day delivery. The party was held in a dark and slightly dingy church hall at eleven am - a strange time for a party, but who I am to argue with the cliquey Mummy's group that had sent me an invite - replete with SPREADSHEET dictating what I should bring.

I dragged Husband with me and he sat glumly in a corner growling quietly. Frankly, he had a point. Maybe I am used to the Irish way of partying - which means that after 10 minutes of arriving you have been invited to two weddings and are practically family to those you have just met. Not so in Southern England - where the friendship winds are decidedly icy. No one spoke to us - apart from the 2 Mums I already knew. Husband slunk off after an hour. Everyone else seemed to know each other. I recognised a few folk from the Xmas do last year - all had another new born child on their hips. The alpha Mums strode around with their special baking and organic raisins for the kids - easy to be a special baker when you don't work 5 days a week - and barely looked at me. I felt like the new girl at school. A posh, prefect aspiring, comfortable footwear and sensible clothing, no sneaky jewellery kind of school. I counted down the minutes until I could leave and then beat a hasty retreat. The two Mums that I knew were lovely - chatty and warm - but the queen bee Mum who seems to run the whole shebang, held court with her husband (who fancies himself rotten - as we say in Ireland, 'if he was a bar of chocolate he'd have had himself ate') and he blanked me even though we have met before. HELL ON WHEELS!

My new rule - is I'm not going to any more of this things. Sproglet has been to a few parties in the past few weeks - all of which have been by and large - great. But yesterday's event just felt laced with tension - as if underneath this whole 'gee whizz aren't we great parents' charade there was a mountain of unspoken competitiveness and snipping. It was all I could do not to reach for the gin when I went home.

Thank god for trick or treating. One street in my neck of the woods had gone to town - and I set off with Sproglet, my good mate from school Gary (who was visiting), his daughter and cool Mum I like and other nice Mum's husband - and their brood. It was as if my nice safe middle class area had actually grown a personality - as every other house sported amazing carved pumpkins, cobwebs, decorations and flashing lights. People answered the door in full costume with large vats of sweets to pour into our kids' buckets.

I think I was a tad over-enthused to see such merriment, and folk embracing my fav holiday with such passion; at every house I thanked them for the sweeties and then gushed about their fancy carved pumpkins until they practically forced me off their properties. I wanted to hug them all and thank them for being such fun people, and invite them all to my own Halloween do. Who had the better time - me or the kids? Hmmmm. Got back and proudly displayed my own carved pumpkin - scary face, nothing fancy - as a sign of 'yes, we 'do' Halloween here, get your candy!' We answered the door every 5 minutes to groups of treaters, some surprisingly old (Gary was amazed that 'girls with breasts are calling at the door - is that allowed?') In the end he had to hit our corner shop for more chocolate as the treaters cleaned us out. It felt like one big party - Sproglet was in his element - but not as much as me.

Today, I am tired, a little glum. The festivities are over. It aint new year but I've made a couple of resolutions: To have my same friends back next year as my manor does Halloween with gusto; to get in more candy; to avoid cliquey Mothers at all costs and finally to remember to do a red base first at all times.

1 comment:

EDW said...

As we say here, in the States, WORD, sister-friend.

Ohh, I know those Moms, and despise them. I know those parties, and I long for that neighborhood you have! Lucky!

Invite me next year - I'll bring the gin.