Halloween

When I was 8 my parents packed all of our stuff into a container and we moved half way around the world to Hong Kong. It was the 80’s and we were living in Belgium. Hong Kong was a country. Or was it? Back then it was still a British colony. Everyone around us had to take the atlas off the bookshelf and look up exactly where this small bit of land was.

When we finally arrived we were in a totally different world. I remember the smell of the traffic. I remember being amazed at the bamboo scaffolding. I remember the red taxis and the double decker busses. The Starferry that sailed between Kowloon and Hong Kong Island with its first class upstairs and second-class downstairs. I remember the Lion Rock Tunnel which meant we were almost home in the New Territories. In a world were multimedia was non existent, everything was new.

I went to a British school and by the time my first Halloween came around my English was fluent enough that I understood the concept. The theory was simple: dress up, do something scary, get sweets. My friends took me trick-or-treating and we felt very proud of the scary stories and jokes we had memorised in order to get treats.  Do kids still do that these days?

Later, I went to an American school and my Halloween memories then started to include Jack-o-lanterns, caramel apples and popcorn balls. In 1994 we moved back to Belgium and Halloween sort of disappeared out of my life. No one had heard of it. No one was interested in this “American” tradition. But then someone decided it would the ideal theme for a student party. And over the years, Halloween filtered down from young adults to teenagers to kids and toddlers.

Last year my kids’ kindergarten wasn’t having any of the Halloween madness. But this year they have embraced it. And what really impressed me was that my 4 year old knows the story behind Halloween. Her 20-something educator explained what it’s all about and why there are lanterns made from pumpkins. Even more impressive is that we live in Berlin and Halloween is not even part of the German heritage.

This week , I have no new recipe for you. Instead, I want to share with you the things I will be making for my kids’ Friday evening pre-Halloween treat feast (I think we’ll skip dinner tonight :-)).

– I made these Rice Krispie treats for my daughter’s Kita Halloween party. I made individual treats using a bat cookie cutter and covered them in milk chocolate.

– I unexpectedly found sugar eye decorations in the baking section of our small supermarket. I’m going to stick them onto some crackers and make these cute little spider treats.

– Popcorn has recently become a new favourite in our house and today it will be covered in caramel sauce according to Linda Lomelino’s recipe featured in this month’s German version of Flow Magazine.  Linda Lomelino has one of the most beautiful blogs I’ve come across. Just look at those pictures! Her crunchy caramel popcorn is part of her recipe for Chocolate Cake with Caramel Buttercream and Crunchy Caramel Popcorn.

– And when my little monsters are asleep tonight (P. is on evening shifts) I plan to tuck into some of this with the left over caramel sauce.

Are you celebrating Halloween? Is there a sweet or treat you make every year?