In NZ, Halloween has not been on most people's radars for very long at all. The driving force in promoting Halloween is most likely The Warehouse and similar chain shops- why not add in another reason to buy before Christmas?
Naturally children are not going to say "no" to the prospect of free lollies, and who doesn't like to dress up?
I'm not even slightly interested in having my children roam the neighbourhood, and they haven't been either. We had plans to go to a Halloween Party for homeschoolers, but it fell through, leaving us wondering what we would do instead.
J-Man and Princess already had costumes, and dh and I had bits and pieces toward one as well. In previous years, we've pretended it wasn't happening, gone to a Light Party, watched "spooky" movies at home with lots of lollies, and last year the kids came to the lounge door to find Dady dressed up as someone different (and dishing out different treats) each time. It was a hoot.
Anyway, we decided to invite a few people over. We *never* do that. We *should do it! I always think the house is too much of a tip, but finally clicked that if I carry one waiting for the "magical" day when everything is "just so"...noone will ever come over!
Several of our friends already had plans, or are not interested in marking Halloween- really, we were just wanting to see friends, but we're all on a journey.
In the end, we had Tombliboo's friend J21 months, S7 from across the road (Princess' friend) and J11 (J-man's best friend), and Nana which worked very nicely.
The children went to a Trunk or Treat evening first off, which noone particularly enjoyed- mainly because there were enormous crowds (you get that when you advertise on the internet) and the promised goodie bags and all been given away before our children got there...to be continued.
We had spent two days decorating the house- everything takes longer with a toddler in the home...I often say "everything I do, I do it three times", and it is true.
The lounge was decorated with black wool and silver string. We had big bats cut out of black paper, and big jack-o-lanterns cut out of white paper painted orange. Princess really enjoyed doing that- the whole thing was exciting for her, and she was "at me" every few minutes to get on with the next thing.
We made a sign saying "SPOOKY" and decorated it with blood splatters, which even appealed to J-Man. We had orange and black balloons, and we defaced the framed photos of the children with washable markers. It was a lot of fun.
DH mowed a jack-o-lantern in to the lawn- he is frightfully good at stuff like that, and now we are hanging out for Christmas where he will do a tree, and Princess wants him to do an easter egg at Easter. I was quite certain she woudl ask for an Easter Bunny, and that would be not very easy at all.
The bit I really loved was dressing up myself. I had a witch hat with long black hair attached, and a beak-like nose, and face paint. I wore a long dress that wasn't really black, but looked it in the evening. I terrified some neighborhood chidlren when they came to t he door- well, I didn't really, but I pretended to if they were older. One group of boys around 10-12 yrs said I frightened them, and they were loving it. They came back later in the evening for another look...mwah-ha-haaaaaa!
I blew up 100 water balloons, and drew a bat and jack-o-lantern on our fence to use as targets.
I made "party bags" our of some cans in the recycling (very well washed), and covered with orange paper, and a jack-o-lantern drawn on the front. They had baloons, and body parts, elephant snot or Monkey Poo lollies, wrapped Toffees, lollipos, and snack sized chocoalte bars (and even some playdough added by J later on).
When the kids got home, they were very surprised to see me lookign so gross, lol, and we got straight in to our first activity...colouring oranges with black vivid marker to look like jack-o-lanterns. We had a huge pumpkin we were going to cut, but didn't have time.
J had made a big bucket of (disgusting) slime. We pout magnetic numbers in the slime, and he kids reached in to grab one. The numbers corresponded with a paper worm- either saysing "TREAT" or to do some other spooky thing (Trick), lkike 'Scream lie ka Banshee". J-Man picked that one, ansd I was pleased, because he particularly lieks ot scream liek a Banshee. This of course got Tombliboo going, and the noise was a teesny bit ott (over the top), but so much fun.
Our friend A had brought loads of plain biscuits with lots of coloured icing, and everything imaginable to put on top. The children made fabulous works of art which I had to clsoe my eyes to when I thought of them actually ingesting all the chemicals...but it was a huge amount of fun, and even the toddlers made biscuits (and thankfully weren't interested in eating them).
We had lots of food on the table (fresh asparagus rolls, ham roll-ups, corn chips and salasa, potato chips and homemade dip, a platter of fruit, and a jack-o-lantern filled wiht lollies. J had made "Gingerbread Mummies' which were brilliant...teeny men, with white chocolate drizzled on to look like bandages, and silver cachous for eyes), along with pretend spiders, lizards, snakes and frogs.
We all had a load of fun, and it was so good to be with friends...especially such good friends :0)
PS: Our camera is repaired, and we will get photos soon...J took a few of this night for us, which I will add when they are received.