If I say "we don't really do Hallowe'en", then I'd not be 100% truthful. Most accurately, we don't stack up with a horde of sweets and open up our doors to whoever might come a-knocking. It's just not part of our tradition and neither of us grew up in a community where it featured large on our calendar. Sure, I might have carved a face into a turnip at Brownies (because I don't think I ever saw a pumpkin for sale in Hull in the 1960s) and we might have listened to spooky stories, but that's as far as it went.
In recent years, our small friends have wanted to do the dressing up thing and pay us a visit. Of course, we're happy to play along and have enjoyed putting something pretty simple together and waiting for the knock on the door. Now they're not-quite-so-small-friends, we wondered if they might have had enough of such things.
Apparently not! But the days of apple-bobbing are over (elaborate makeup!) and something a little more sophisticated is called for, so when the question "Are you doing Hallowe'en this year?" came, I went to a couple of favourite places (Lia Griffith is a great place to start) and decided to offer spooky (non-alcoholic!) cocktails this year. I began by cranking up the Silhouette and cutting out a few bats...
Pulling off the sheet, the negative shapes make for quite an interesting pattern - until the bats become recognisable!
Anyway, I frosted the top of the gasses with sugar and placed a small jelly frog in the bottom of each (well, even sophisticated drinks have to be fun, don't you agree?)
I made a fruit stick for each glass by sticking a bat to a lolly stick and spearing a large blackberry, an orange slice and a blueberry on each of them and created a suitably spooky cocktail from blueberry, blackcurrant and cranberry juice, blackcurrant syrup and fizzy water, with lots of ice, needless to say.
I made a bowl of eyeballs with lychees, glace cherries and blueberries and opened a couple of packs of "lemon and slime" popcorn (who thinks of these things?!)
We put the note on the door and waited for the sound of giggling...
The youngsters came first, with a couple of parents in tow, followed an hour or so later by an older, more sophisticated bunch. For once, it was dry and relatively mild and we were able to admire the costumes and makeup without heavy coats and umbrellas and yes, enjoy their company.
I still don't count Hallowe'en as anything more than a date on the calendar and I'll still mutter when the aisles of the supermarket begin to fill with crazy quantities of sweets and "specialities", but when the witches, ghouls, zombies and other scary visitors are as delightful as they were last evening, I'm happy to play along!