Ever wondered what happens to all those pumpkins after Halloween? You might be thinking soup, or American Pie. A Sydney School of Arts and Humanities scout may have found the answer in a little store near Washington Square in NYC.
Which leads to Pumpkin Heaven:
An explosion has certainly been the case in terms of the interest in Halloween in Australia over recent years – no doubt helped along by consumerism.
SSOA writers in our meet ups tackled the fun of ghosts & pumpkins and the following three pieces were selected for Writing of the Week:
THE WALKING DEAD OF HALLOWEEN
My twin sister’s daughter, Bridget, each Halloween has a big party for all the children and adults in our family. She goes to great trouble decorating the house with all sorts of ghoulish things.
She also makes food, like fingers sitting in a bowl of blood, made out of sausages with the tips cut out to look like finger nails. The kids just love eating bloody fingers, the more macabre the better. She usually has a theme, but this year she just said ‘anything fiendish’.
First she asked my identical twin sister and me to dress up as Siamese twins joined together, but Ann and I thought that was a terrible idea and said a firm, ‘No thanks’.
Instead, I’m going in my Earth Cloak/Shroud, which I made myself. It is a deep purple with green squares of material onto which I’ve carefully painted native species and flowers. It also has two red-belly black snakes running all the way down the front. Why is this masterpiece so ghoulish?
Well, I made it to be buried in. It has hung in my cupboard for a year now waiting for the day I’m buried, so it should be fun poncing around in it on Halloween. As I am eighty now, I think it’s sensible to be prepared.
Here’s a photo of the front of my cloak – with not much on the back as I assume that when I finally wear it, I’ll be lying on my back!
Halloween without children is a bore
A cluttering of supermarket isles with the tawdry
Children knock and ring the bell and I don’t answer
The dog barks and I don’t answer
But Halloween also means October
Which is summer and Christmas and my birthday
Halloween is just a bookmark for the best days of the year to come.
Halloween was never a big deal in Australia. We always saw it as a typically American holiday … just another excuse for excessive consumerism … buying costumes and decorations and loads of sugary junk food for kids.
But when I moved to Egypt and after my children came along, Halloween became one of the many festivals we adopted. We celebrated everything in Egypt: there was the pagan harvest ritual marking the beginning of spring called Sham El Nessim or ‘smelling of the Zephyr,’ celebrated by all Egyptians irrespective of religion; and, the Prophet’s Birthday celebrated with their own version of sugary treats that were fashioned like bride dolls and knights on horses that everyone bought at street stalls. Then there was Guy Fawkes Night at the British Consulate, Easter egg hunts in the grounds of the WWCG Guesthouse (Waste Water Consultants Group) or in one of the many beautiful villas in Roushdy and Kafr Abdou. The Christmas Bazaar was held in old St Mark’s Cathedral in Mansheya and Halloween at the American Schutz School, just walking distance from our apartment in Gianaklis.
The American School had many foreign students from around the world plus a few Egyptian kids whose families could afford the annual 30,000 Egyptian Pound school fee, a fortune in anyone’s money.
With the aid of the students, the teachers went to a lot of effort with the Haunted House which never failed to have us all screaming, first in fear and then in laughter, but only once we got out! There were gooey, squishy things you had to touch in the pitch black, with monsters, witches, ghosts and skeletons jumping out at you or grabbing your arm as you made your way along the serpentine passageways made from miles of black sheets. My kids, at age five and seven and a half, were brave indeed!
There were many games and lucky dips and a Nubian chef called Abdou, who made hotdogs, corn bread and fairy floss and in the swimming pool, teachers balanced on floats until someone knocked them into the water by throwing a ball at them. I always thought what good sports they were to participate in that way.
It was an opportunity for me to get creative with the kid’s costumes, join in the revelry and catch up with all my expat friends. Halloween took on a whole new meaning for me.
Photo credits: Helena Amerisen, Christine Williams & Wiki images.
JENNIFER NEIL’S WRITING CAN ALSO BE FOUND ON THE ‘IMPRESSIONS’ PAGE OF THE SSOA WEBSITE HERE