It’s trick or treat time. Being British I’m faintly disturbed by this tradition; squirmish about the concept of fancy dress (the effort involved seems commensurate with axing the trees to light your own funeral pyre), cynical of the commercialization of yet another pagan / christian ceremony and also mightily stressed out by the following email, which begins:
Come in Costume, laugh and smile a lot!
The British in me rears up like a dragon. Not only do they expect me to wear a costume (a costume!) but they also are demanding I laugh and smile? PER-LEASE. Who are these Americans? So crass. So happy all the time…
OK, I’m just a little envious. I’ve grown up in the land of Malcom Tuckers. I don’t know how to be happy and laugh all the time. I know how to be sarcastic and wry and cock one cynical eyebrow all the time whilst complaining about the weather.
We’re asked to bring healthy food for the pot luck and healthy snacks for the trick or treat, as environmental as possible (this is after all at Green School – the greenest school in the world or something).
I spend all week online googling manically for healthy Halloween recipes. I have visions of extravagantly costumed parents holding out little cupcakes with monster faces on whilst I lurk in my jeans and a t-shirt at the back handing out Haribo. The shame is too great and spurs me into action.
I head into the metropolis of downtown Denpasar to buy an oven and a little Chinese black box to make it work, which made a percussive sound when shook like one of those kid’s maracas. Though a child’s musical toy would probably not have exploded in quite the same spectacular fashion.
Annabel Karmel can make brain mush muffins. Well whoopppeee dooo Annabel.
Jamie Oliver can make fruit gums using real fruit. Congrats Jamie.
I however can make nothing because my oven has exploded. My NEW oven which cost me an arm and a leg plus the ‘fine’ that we had to pay for being foreign and driving a car past a policeman.
Secretly I’m quite glad that the oven exploded because as soon as I unwrapped it I felt a deep sense of foreboding, rather like when you were a kid and unwrapped the giant present under the tree convinced it was going to be the Barbie house you’d been hoping for for three years but was in actual fact a flower press. And you had to slap a face on you and act happy for the rest of Christmas day when all you wanted to do was go upstairs and hide the flower press at the top of your wardrobe and kick something really hard.
That’s how I felt about the oven. But I had to act happy and like I hadn’t just sentenced myself to a life of stress and drudgery. My inner monologue went something like WHAT WERE YOU THINKING?
Anyway I woke up on Saturday morning, the day of the trick or treat thing, and decided that I was done with pretending (I know, I know I’ve said this about ten times on this blog) that I was a yummy mummy domestic goddess. I closed down all those google windows displaying images of mummy pizzas and googly eyed fruit salads and instead pulled out my phone and speed dial rang the pizza place, ordering three pizzas and five packs of cookies. They’re spelt flour – that surely qualifies them as healthy?
Relief has never felt so good let me tell you. I might have been $80 poorer but I was a million dollars worth of happier.
Then we get to the trick or treat village. I have to ask a passing Canadian what I’m expected to do when the kids come knocking. She looks at me weirdly and tells me I should compliment them on their costumes and hand out the cookies.
OK, I think, I can manage that. I hand out all the cookies, eating seven myself as I wait. (It was stressful, running over my lines.)
Alula arrives beaming with the shopping bag I’d given her filled with goodies. We empty them out.
Every single treat is a plastic wrapped one cent sweet from the local supermarket.