Saturday, November 03, 2012

Dear Papa Series: We are Equal Opportunity Participants in Festive Occasions

Dear Packrat,
I'm sorry you missed Halloween with us. It was our first and it wasn't a big deal. And that's why it was so great. Firstly, it was done in secrecy because Mom would have flipped to know that we were celebrating this pagan, somewhat ghoulish festival. But it really wasn't about celebrating the pagan festival but about creating some sort of tradition. While Halloween isn't really a tradition from our culture, I like knowing that the these little things we do with them, they end up reminiscing about when they are older.

So, we went all out and this is how we got busy.
1. We bought a pumpkin. It did make me wish we lived in the US because the small sized one we bought was $20. I spent the entire weekend terrified that one of the kids would drop it and smash it into smithereens!

2. Uncle D came by to do the honours and it was great fun because the twins saw how it was meant to be done. What was hilarious was that when they were asked to pull out the "pumpkin brains", they alternated from being grossed out to oddly fascinated and wanting to grab out the "brains" and obsessively washing their hands. What was great was when it was done and we lowered a candle in and turned out the lights.

I would have stopped there but seeing that you weren't home and I was trying hard to find things to do with them so that they wouldn't spend their time just watching television in the evenings, I thought we could organise a little "Trick Or Treat" in the block. It doesn't really come as a big surprise to me but I am always heartened to see them thrilled even when it is a simple affair. So, even though I didn't buy them costumes, we improvised. Jordan, surprisingly refused to go as a princess. It was too hot. She went as a ballerina. And Evan went as the astronaut from his concert.

Even though it wasn't planned, because of the ruckus JED and the other neighbours' kids that I managed to rally, people were opening the doors and giving them candy. As more doors opened, the shrills got louder! It didn't matter if people were tossing bananas or candy into their bags, they were equally thrilled.

Someone remarked that it was sad that Singapore was getting so commercialised and blindingly westernised to the point that Halloween was celebrated in favour of Mid Autumn's. Well, we incorporated Mid Autumn's into our little Halloween party by rounding off the night with sparklers. So, the bags and buckets of candy they collected were gently laid on the ground and then they took off, waving their sparklers and writing their names in the air. Generally having a ball of a time.

Will we do it again next year? I hope so. It was heartwarming to see them excited and to see all the kids from the block play together. From my childhood, those were the memories I cherished most and I hope the kids will remember their childhood in the same way.

Even though it was past bed time, no one was tired and all insisted on playing on. Imagine what would have happened if I had allowed them to break out their stashes. But since they weren't too interested in it after collecting it, the lollies and stuff were quietly distributed to the long suffering helpers and the kids, well, ours at least, were none the wiser.

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