It was remarkably mild this Hallowe’en which made the trudge around the village knocking on peoples doors that little bit more pleasant and the Mudlets were able to do the whole thing without either wrapping up so tight they could have been mistaken for Carol Singers, or shivering in their flimsy Hallowe’en costumes (although they usually have layers underneath the costumes as well). This year they were joined by one of their friends who was wearing a werewolf costume and Eldest Mudlet who dressed up as a Zombie. The friends mum and I also went with them and it was a pleasant evening all round.
Of course Hallowe’en isn’t Hallowe’en without the carving of the Jack-o-lanterns and it was with a good deal of regret and disappointment that Mud found himself carving shop bought pumpkins due to the catastrophic failure of my pumpkin and squash crops. I am absolutely convinced that the prolonged period of humidity we had back in June/July delayed the production of the squash blossoms, inhibited the activity of the pollinators and, therefore, affected the setting of the pumpkins/squash. Oddly enough I have had more flowers on my remaining squash plants in the last 4 weeks than I’ve had throughout the whole of June to September – sadly too little, too late.
This year Mud had a few days off over the Hallowe’en period including the day itself and so the carving of the pumpkins once more fell to him. First was Little Mudlets pumpkin face and, ever helpful, she had drawn a template for him to use. As luck would have it, she had also picked the largest of the pumpkins and had designed the most complex of the faces but Mud set too and before long had translated her vision from paper onto pumpkin.
Middle Mudlet was next and on seeing her design, Mud commented that he though her choice of eyes wouldn’t look good but she stood firm and he set to work. Her pumpkin wasn’t quite as big as her younger sisters and Mud commented that both pumpkins had a horrible texture to the flesh but then, on the whole, these pumpkins weren’t grown to eat which is a huge waste when you think about the amount of food that is scooped out and binned each year. However, before long her pumpkin face was finished and, as with her younger sisters lantern, the hanging basket chains had been attached. Mud even conceded that the choice of eye shape worked brilliantly, giving the face a really sad and scared look.
Eldest Mudlet had the smallest of the pumpkins to carve. After settling on the design of her pumpkins face, she set to and carved the lid. Unfortunately, Eldest Mudlets pumpkin was a little soft on the underside and so she had to carve it upside down to ensure that the candle would be resting on a hard section of the pumpkin. Very soon her pumpkin joined the other two but as it was to destined to be placed on the door step, it wasn’t fitted with the hanging basket chains.
By now the wind had got up a little which led to concerned mutterings from Mud about candles being blown out. We placed tea lights into small jars and placed them into the pumpkins and then lit them before taking them outside and hanging them on the hanging basket hooks, on the front of the house. Eldest Mudlets pumpkin was then placed on the door step and we waited to see what would happen …… the candles blew out! Luckily we had some battery operated lights which could be dropped in to replace the candles, two of which were flashing multi-coloured LED lights, which gently changed through a range of 5 different colours. The doorstep pumpkin received a static, white LED light in place of its’ candle. All three were pretty effective though, for the very short period of time they were outside.
“Don’t be leaving them outside if you’re going out with the girls,” Mud grumbled,”I won’t be opening the door to any callers!”
So after only half a dozen callers or so, we had to take the pumpkins in and our little group set off to call at the houses with lit pumpkins showing. All three children came away with an impressive stash of goodies and even Eldest Mudlet was offered them at a couple of houses, as she had made the effort to dress up. We finished our trick or treating at the friends house and then the Mudlets and I headed for home where upon the younger girls compared their hauls.