I thought it would be a nice idea to invite a couple of Betty's bestest buddies round for a little Halloween playdate. Something very low-key: a few sandwiches, and maybe some fairy cakes if I had time. With Betty's pumpkin costume at the ready, and still five days until Halloween, I felt there was nothing else to worry about, other than a quick dash to the shops to buy a bit of bread and cheese.
As the week progressed, so did the ideas. The recipe books came out, Google was consulted, and there followed several trips to different cook shops and supermarkets to track down things like pumpkin-shaped cookie cutters and orange food colouring.
I became so caught up in throwing the halloween party of the century that I forgot I was catering for just three children on a mere playdate. With 48 hours to go, I made the toffee apples and the pumpkin soup, and Betty and I made some decorations: pumpkins, witches, spiders, ghosts, 'welcome' signs, spooky bunting etc.
On the morning of Halloween, I got up at the crack of dawn and frantically began baking. Intricate spider fairy cakes were created, hand-shaped chocolate chip cookies were made, and gory finger sandwiches, and fruit kebabs. Pumpkins were gutted and carved, and several oranges were hollowed out to resemble mini pumpkins, to use as vessels for the green jelly; decorations were hung, pumkpin-themed balloons were inflated, the house was tidied, and last minute alterations to costumes were made. Standing back and looking at everything laid out in all its glory, I suddenly felt embarrassed at the efforts I had gone to. So I instructed Tom not to laugh at my casual reply of ‘not long at all, it was nothing’ if anyone asked how long it had all taken me.
At 3pm, me, Tom, Betty, Dolly and their two grandmothers (who had been drafted in at the last minute to help eat all the food) sat expectantly in the decked out room, awaiting the arrival of our guests. Both of them arrived right on time, also dressed as pumpkins. The three pumpkin pals quickly joined forces, and began gaily throwing breadsticks around, and generally trashing the room. Meanwhile I had collapsed in an exhausted heap on a chair in the corner of the room and was unable to muster up the energy to be all halloweeny. Tom desperately tried to think of ways to entertain the pumpkins and decided to do some apple bobbing. But he dislocated his neck whilst doing his demonstration and the pumpkins watched on, looking perplexed.
We played musical bumps, and then took the pumpkins trick or treating to our next door neighbours (each one was given a small plastic pumpkin receptacle to hold the treat). And again the children had a look of bafflement on their little faces, when sweets were willingly and freely handed out to them.
Then it was pretty much time to finish the playdate, so we quickly ate all the food, and I brought out the pumpkin soup in a big scooped out pumpkin.