Monday, 25 October 2010

Another Halloween newsflash. And now for your parade instructions....

So, you want to know how seriously Halloween is taken here? If the decorations weren't enough, here's proof.

The other day I received a letter from Littleboy 1's school. Not only is the possibly the longest missive I've ever had from the Head Teacher, it is also the most comprehensive in terms of its detail and instructions. No, it wasn't about the coming parent-teacher meetings, or the curriculum, or the screening of kindergarteners for educational difficulties. It was about the annual Halloween parade.

I had some vague idea that they might be allowed to go to school in costume on the Friday before Halloween; let's just say that is an understatement. The school Halloween parade, it informs me, will be kicking off at 9am sharp, with students exiting the side doors. It then goes on to outline the prescribed parade route and inform parents of the best areas for viewing and photography. Parents are also asked to 'respect the integrity' of the cordon which will separate us from our little darlings in their costumes, before they re-enter the school again in time for lessons.

It sounds more like a military passing out parade than a chance for the children to show off their costumes - or, as the Doctor remarked when I showed him the letter, something out of Maoist China. What, we wondered, would happen if any child failed to show up in costume? Would they have to stay behind in the classroom? Or be forced to parade around ignominously in their ordinary clothing.....

Littleboy 2's preschool, in contrast, asks the children NOT to come to school in costume, for 'safety' reasons, but suggests bringing in a Halloween treat, one that is preferably 'not candy'. I suddenly remember that last year, they came home bearing little gift bags containing Halloween themed pencils, erasers and items such as plastic spiders, which various children's mothers had lovingly put together for every child in the class. No doubt even if I hotfooted it down to Target now, all this stuff would already be sold out, so I'm just going to pretend I have no idea that this is what's expected....

Meanwhile, in other Halloween news, the people down the road from us have once again erected their enormous inflatable witch, this year accompanied by a giant blow-up pumpkin. I had wondered if they weren't going to do it this year after all, and felt quite disappointed - had they had enough of Halloween? But no, this weekend it all magically appeared overnight. (I'd love to take a picture, but am terrified that they might read the blog and identify me.)

Final newflash - the other day I had to rush out and buy a replacement pumpkin for a distraught Littleboy 2, after we arrived home one day to find a squirrel sitting boldly on our porch, scooping out the middle and eating it. It was so ridiculous that I had to stifle my giggles while commiserating with the boys and simultaneously sweeping up chewed bits of pumpkin. The war on squirrels has now officially been declared...

17 comments:

Calif Lorna said...

Oh, I love the idea of the squirrel eating your pumpkin - how lovely! Sorry Littleboy 2 was upset though.

Your parade is so serious! We're not allowed to dress up at school at all. Maybe they have extra costumes for those who don't dress up?

Great post, you can feel that it's imminent...hope your preparations are in full swing!

Mud in the City said...

Wow. I've never been in the US at Hallowe'en time so although I've read about it, I didn't quite realise the level of excitement! However, I think if I tried any of that here the Singapore Fun Police would come and "have words"....

Expat mum said...

Between the sodding squirrels and the parade instructions it's just all a bit stressful isn't it? Seriously. Our school even has a Plan B for inclement weather and many suburbs have presecribed hours for trick or treating. (Not quite sure what happens if you trot around the doors outside of these parameters.)
I've written a piece at Expat Focus about the US Halloween experience. - http://www.expatfocus.com/toni-hargis-241010

conuly said...

If you really want to give something out, go online and print out a few halloween-themed coloring pages or mazes for the kindergarteners. It'll be slightly different and - bonus! - it'll look like you are amazingly creative and did a lot of work. (And we've now described all 5 years of my in-school birthday parties, excepting the year my father came and talked about the civil rights movement.)

Mwa said...

I'm glad we at least don't have to deal with that - we have a little bit of a break before the Sinterklaas stuff starts, and then after that Christmas of course.

Nota Bene said...

Wow...and to think, Sainsbury's here will be selling off remaindered halloween nonsense for weeks after the event...

Home Office Mum said...

you mean this is what I have to look forward to? We are having a go at Halloween this year given next year we'll probably be following the same kind of instructions you've been given. I have bought some fake spiderwebs (99p) and a pumpkin to be carved. The boys have the same outfit (glow in the dark skeletons from sainsburys) and we have some eyeball and fang sweets. I feel a bit sick at having done this much but I know it is nothing compared to what life will be like for us in the future.

Iota said...

"Respect the integrity of the cordon" sounds like some kind of political slogan.

I'm sure you'd find some plastic tat somewhere if you really wanted to, even at this late stage. You might scar Littleboy 2 psychologically, if he's the only one without some piece of themed plastic. Or the colouring pages suggestion is a good one.

Babies who brunch said...

crazy as i agree that sounds, i'm having MAJOR withdrawal for the halloween we spent in DC two years ago. meanwhile back in blighty i haven't even managed to get my act together to buy a pumpkin.

nappy valley girl said...

Lorna - he's fine, recovered as soon as he saw the new pumpkin. We've covered the other ones with fake cobwebs to deter the squirrels...

Mud - I'm sure you're right. Halloween did used to be quite popular in Hong Kong, though.

Expat Mum - yes, we have an inclement weather plan too. Prescribed trick or treating hours? Who is going to enforce it?!

Conuly - great idea, I might even do that. Your dad sounds great.

Mwa - ah, but it's all part of the fun! And after that we will have Thanksgiving....

NB - While we will have moved on to Turkeys without further ado...

HomeOffice Mum - so is the move definite? One thing you will find different is that they don't really go in for scary costumes - in fact the school bans masks of any kind, and any 'blood or gore'.

Iota - Ah, but he won't know, he'll just come home with plastic tat from other people and be as pleased as pie!

Babies who brunch - yes, I don't know how I'm going to explain to the boys that Halloween isn't such a big deal once we go back to the UK......

Home Office Mum said...

the move looks pretty much like it will happen. It will definitely be SEattle, not Long island :-( but we need to sell our house, I need to figure out what to do with my business and then we need to move!!

Metropolitan Mum said...

First: Hahahahaha for the squirrel. Oh my!! This does sound like serious business. Poor you. Costumes, decorations, gifts, carving... And it's not even Christmas!! x

PantsWithNames said...

Oh poor LB2. And come on then, what are their Halloween costumes going to be this year?

London City Mum said...

Aaaaahhhh! Aaaaaahhhhh!

Hate halloween.

*turns off all the lights in the house*

LCM x

nappy valley girl said...

Home office Mum - how exciting!!

Met Mum - I tell you, it's virtually bigger than Christmas here. They don't have a Christmas parade at the school...

Pants - so LB1 is a bat, and LB2 is Buzz Lightyear (or Buzzlight, as he calls him). Are yours dressing up?

LCM - a very good thing you don't live over here then.....

conuly said...

Met Mum - I tell you, it's virtually bigger than Christmas here. They don't have a Christmas parade at the school...

That's because Christmas is a religious holiday. But I bet you they do some sort of vague tree-and-menorah activity in December anyway. (Last year my niece brought home a star-of-David with a string to use as a Christmas ornament. I kid you not. And every year I'm scandalized at chocolate gelt with Santa on it!)

And yes, my dad was pretty awesome, though as I'd heard all those stories before (and spent most of my time being the class outcast, generally ONLY reprieved on my birthday because my parents believed in bringing in eclairs and cannolis instead of cupcakes and chips) I kinda wished he'd stop already. I feel bad about it now (especially since it was the last of my birthdays he was alive for), but I just wanted to get to the food part of my own party!

Tanya (Bump2Basics) said...

Oh the annual Halloween parade...I can't remember what would happen if you didn't dress up. I think we all just did. Heh. Also, I thought you would appreciate a this very Americanlike health and safety article from the illustrious Metro today: http://www.metro.co.uk/news/845561-halloween-warning-apple-bobbing-can-damage-your-health