Looking to the future –

When I was a kid over a half century ago Hallowe’en (it had an apostrophe in it back then) was an indoor party with “exciting” games such as apple bobbing. Nobody actually had these parties but we read about them in children’s story books, probably written pre-war. Sometime during the eighties before we arrived in Canada kids from a US airforce base a few miles away would knock on our door and look disappointed when we asked what this was all about before telling them to go away. Since then I understand the kids and ghouls and candy event has taken over Britain as it has here. Cultural transplantation.

Anyway, where is this going?

Two things -firstly, there was a small move in Baie-D’Urfé to try to initiate an early December, pre-Christmas community get together with a tree lighting and hot chocolate gathering. Lovely idea but probably not going to happen until C-19 is well under control. The second thing is a reminder I saw that “Bonfire Night” is not going to happen in the UK this year for similar reasons. And so …

There are early to mid-winter celebrations of some sort in most countries and a good thing too. They bring the community together and let everyone have a good time. One thing that strikes me is that Halloween (Hallowe’en) can often be decidedly cold and wet for the troops of kids doing the rounds. Bonfire night, held on 5 November, almost in the lap of Halloween, is equally cold and wet but comes with the added bonus of a large warming bonfire, drinks for everyone and spicy “Parkin” to eat.

So – and I just know this won’t go anywhere – wouldn’t it be fun in a small community like ours to somehow have a multi-cultural start-of-winter event that combines Halloween with a warming bonfire and has the adults as well as the youngsters all coming together. As this is North America, probably on the traditional Halloween night but with the addition of a bonfire for all the neighbours to gather around.

I throw it out there to be pondered upon. Maybe one day.

Meanwhile, here’s a recipe for parkin – you can eat that anytime, bonfire or ghosts or not. Gloriously warming and sticky: https://www.allrecipes.com/recipe/244629/perfect-parkin/