Familiar Forests, Trick or Treating & Drive-In Movies

I thought I’d share what we’ve been doing for the rest of the Halloween holidays. I decided to go back to Montalto again to explore some of the other trails. There is a historical one that leads to a hill where a battle took place. I had a moment when I was driving through Ballynahinch and I realised it really reminded me of somewhere else. I don’t know why it never struck me before because it is twinned with a town I stayed in when I lived in France called Lamorlaye. I realised for the first time that they have a similar feel to them and the same thing happened in the woods at Montalto. I had gone for a long walk in a forest in Lamorlaye with a French family I stayed with for a weekend and it had the same type of trees. There is something I love about tall, bare trees all crowded together. We saw a lot of fir trees along our walk and I realised that Christmas suddenly felt close. There was a perceptible change in the air and it made me appreciate returning to the warmth and a hot drink afterwards. There is something much more refreshing about going for a walk in late autumn and winter. I like the contrast of walking in the cold and then warming up at home.

The girls have been making their Jumping Clay models every day. They made a pumpkin, a witch, a mummy and a spider. I love how much it settles them down when they’re excessively hyper 🙂 The lovely lady at the library kindly gave us some Halloween booklets for them to do at home when we called in to get some new books. You have to order books in advance again but it’s worth it to read something new. The kids had read a book about a potty so many times we’ve all memorised it and I was happy to replace it with anything else 🙂

We did some basic pumpkin carving. The girls love scooping out the entrails now 🙂 I carved Minnie Mouse’s face into a pumpkin for them a couple of years ago and it wasn’t as well received as I’d expected, so I just stick with a smiley face now 🙂 I made one with heart eyes and a pout and the girls said it’s the other pumpkin’s girlfriend now 🙂

I saw a post online about making haunted houses out of treat boxes (like the Timbits ones from Tim Hortons.) We didn’t have any so we just used empty coffee and tea boxes instead. I gave the girls a “spooky” colour palette and just let them work away and decorate them as they liked. Then we added a little ghost and black cat that we cut out of cardboard and painted at the end. I’d like to make a more elaborate version next year with lit up windows etc, but we were all in an impatient mood that day so we opted for the quick version 🙂

I found a shortbread recipe I love and I made some and the girls iced them for our Halloween drive. They love going out in their pyjamas and getting milk and cookies in the car 🙂 I was surprised to see that there were more Christmas decorations up than Halloween ones. Fewer people had decorated for Halloween than I thought, judging by the bare Halloween shelves I’d seen in the shops.

For Halloween, the girls and I had a mini party of three. I printed off a Halloween hunt and hid sweets around the house and garden for the girls to find. We did a glow stick disco (as mentioned in my last post.) We also did pass the parcel with plastic bats and insects in each layer. We made s’mores. The girls don’t like digestives for some reason so I made them in rich tea biscuits and they devoured them 🙂 We had some party food for dinner (which is my kids’ idea of a dream dinner!) We did bobbing for apples after dinner and I’d forgotten how difficult it is to get them without the stalk 🙂 Then I took the girls for a walk to see the Halloween decorations in the streets near our house and they brought their Halloween bags “just in case there were sweets.” This year’s version of trick or treating where you don’t have to knock on anyone’s door and disturb anyone in their house appealed to me more 🙂 We had never been Trick or Treating but the girls loved the excitement of finding bowls of sweets outside people’s houses 🙂

A friend of mine sent us the link to a Halloween trail made by a local primary school. You got cryptic clues and had to walk around our area and take pictures of each answer as you found it. I love long walks with the girls (with sweets in my bag as bribery for when they complain of tired legs.) They liked stopping along the way to look at Halloween window displays and it was a good way to pass an afternoon. There are prizes for it but I was just glad to have something to keep the girls busy on a sunnier day 🙂 We rewarded ourselves with gelato afterwards. It felt particularly necessary after an accidental, long detour. (It wouldn’t be a family walk if I didn’t go the wrong way at some point!)

Yesterday, I took the girls to a drive-in Halloween event. We were given sweets, popcorn and drinks in the car. There was an inflatable Halloween display you drive through and a pumpkin patch you stop at to pick up a pumpkin to take home to carve. Then we parked and there was a lady dressed up as a witch who talked to all the kids in their cars. There was Halloween story-telling on the screen, followed by a screening of Hocus Pocus and we had pizza and s’mores delivered to our car. It was something different that we hadn’t done before and the girls loved it. I think we were all on a serious sugar high afterwards though 🙂

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