Friday, 30 October 2015

I Dream Of Halloween....In Times Past

There's great excitement and planning in the Mad Mammy household this morning as La-la and The Dude put their outfits together for Halloween.  La-la is so tall now she actually fits an adult costume and is going to be a very scary looking Grim Reaper.  She is delighted with herself.  The Dude is thrilled he fits into La-la's costume from last year (as am I!) but has yet to decide exactly on what he is going to be - zombpire, vampire and a mini grim reaper are the current options.  I was supposed to be dressing up as a dementor but as you might have seen on my facebook page that idea was shot down on a number of points and it was decided I should just go as myself, since, both my children are agreed, I'm scary enough!

Photo of young girl dressed in a grim reaper halloween costume
La-la As The Grim Reaper

I love my children's excitement and delight at the prospect of dressing up and going out but I wish I could drum up a little more of it in myself.  Whereas the the trick or treat concept has its roots in history and tradition, I'm afraid the prospect of answering my door all night to a constant stream of kids who half-heartedly mutter, "trick or treat" and then stick a grocery bag in my face so I can top up their already considerable sweet/junk stash, doesn't hold much appeal.  Thankfully, I currently live in a community where there is a Halloween themed event in the local park which is where I'll be going with La-la and The Dude and should miss most of the door-knockers.  Such are the perks of living in Australia, where it's currently springtime and this year it is mercifully cool and still under thirty degrees.

Still, I think back to the fun-filled Halloweens of my childhood and can't help but be a little sad at the realisation my children don't know those sort of halloweens.  They've never dunked for apples, had their fortune told by reading the cards, "heard" the banshee or felt the ice-cold touch of the puca. They've never sat around a blazing fire eating barnbreac (an Irish fruitbread traditionally eaten around Halloween) hoping they'll get the coin, hidden within it, in their slice, thereby guaranteeing them riches for the coming year.  They've never scared the living daylights out of each other with friends by telling ghost stories and stared wide-eyed into the embers of a dying fire, too terrified to go to bed. Okay maybe I can do without the last part, visions of the Dude sleeping in my bed till he's eighteen are enough to terrify me!  However, I'm sure you get the picture, somewhere along the way I feel the fun of Halloween has been lost to a going through the motions exercise known as "trick or treat" which only seems to be a means to a very sugary and additive laden end.

A photo of barnbreac - a traditional fruitbread eaten on Halloween in Ireland
Barnbreac - A Traditional Fruitbread Eaten In Ireland
on Halloween

Last year I promised myself I would organise a Halloween party along the lines of a more traditional Halloween like the ones I experienced.  However, even after three years of living in Australia, I'm still not used to the fact Halloween is in Springtime.  My internal clock just doesn't get it and therefore my mental faculties don't receive the Halloween alert, so here I am yet again planning costumes at the last minute and intending to do the absolute minimum to get through it.

The Dude keeps pestering me as I write for face paint (we don't have any!) and to come and help him make a scythe (!)  He has obviously decided on the Grim Reaper option.  He is now singing the "death song" his sister made up and now she has just lodged a complaint about him copying her and huffed off, not very happy.  It's still only 9:30 in the morning!  It's shaping up to be something of a horror filled day for me.  I hope it's better for you.  Happy (?) Halloween!

Photo of young boy dressed in a grim reaper outfit for halloween
The Dude And His Little Feet
As The Grim Reaper

Tuesday, 13 October 2015

Here's To You Mr. Robinson

The Mad Mammy has been wandering and I was all set to write a nice little post about my recent wanderings when I decided on a spot of procrastination instead and where better to indulge in that particular passing of the time than on facebeook.  Whilst there I came across a fabulous TED talk by Sir Ken Robinson, a man who believes we need to acknowledge multiple types of intelligence, cultivate creativity and radically rethink our education systems.  And I just happen to agree with him! However, Sir Ken puts it much more eloquently than me.

Photo of man in his fifties wearing a dark jumper and dark glasses
Sir Ken Robinson

Click on the link below and check out what he has to say.  You won't be sorry.