Sweetness and Light

Call us mean spirited, party-poopers, kill-joys or a great big bunch of joyless grinches but here on the Homestead we don’t do Halloween. It’s one of those traditions that just doesn’t translate well to our shores: our last pumpkin, set aside with a consolation “no-you-can’t-go-trick-or-treating Jack-o-Lantern in mind, was discovered capsized and quietly moldering over a month ago, and the whole door to door thing – it’s really not our style. 

One of our number has a regular Halloween gig, though.  

The Farmer has one of those hobbies often treated with the same eye-rolling disdain as train spotters and bird watchers.  He spends every Sunday ferrying overexcited children and their parents (often equally excited) around the tracks at Canterbury Society of Model and Experimental Engineers, more widely known as Halswell Miniature Trains.  Every year they join with their wider community to put on the Halswell Community Light Party, theiranswer to children in Scream masks and miniature Maleficents.  


He always comes home with a tummy full of good food, his spirits well and truly lifted, and a smile to rival any Samhain celebrating Celt. 

2014-01-17 16.41.57

10 thoughts on “Sweetness and Light

  1. I’m the lone non-Hallowe’en person in my family, and have usually been viewed as the Hallowe’en version of the Grinch round here. But something happened this year – no one wanted to carve the pumpkins we’d acquired, no one wanted to have friends over for a party, or go to the bonfire they were invited to, no one dressed up – except me – my boss had made me a costume to wear at work, knowing full well my lack of enthusiasm for such antics. It was an orange t-shirt with “this IS my Hallowe’en costume emblazoned across the chest. My kind of costume, I will treasure it for years. And tonight, hubby and I are just back from a neighbour’s “day after” bonfire, replete with hot apple cider, pumpkin pie, roasted corn, and baked ham (that sounds a little food focussed, doesn’t it? There WAS a huge fire too). So what’s just happened?

    As to the trains…we have a place that does them here too, and the father of a friend of mine from Guiding days runs them most of the year. I love them. And seeing that picture on your blog of the trains makes me realize how different Hallowe’en must be in late spring instead of autumn – here we can expect dark, damp, chilly, foggy conditions – it must be odd to see ghouls and goblins frisking down leafy, green, blossoming garden paths.

    • Love the idea of your Halloween costume 🙂 The “day after” bonfire sounds fantastic – apple cider, corn and baked ham: yummmm, however I confess to never having tried pumpkin pie. Like Halloween that just doesn’t work when the sun is still shining long into the evening, pumpkin pie just isn’t something we encounter. You reckon I should seek some out?

      • True story here – I wasn’t a pumpkin pie fan till I married a man for whom this is the pie of pies. He comes from the opposite side of Canada, where squash is a staple due to the long winters and the wonderful storing ability of the vegetable. I learned to like pumpkin pie because his whole family revered it, and it was served whenever we visited.

        A few years later, we were hosting Thanksgiving dinner for my own kin out here, and I decided to make a pumpkin pie for the dessert. But I didn’t have a pumpkin to hand…and reasoning that lots of English and Aussie cookbooks use pumpkin like squash as a side for meat dishes, I decided to use one of my acorn squash for the pie.

        My family ate it with enthusiasm, my brother’s family opted for the ice cream (they don’t like pumpkin pie), and my grandfather aged about 99 at the time ate it and said thoughtfully “I’ve had a lot of pumpkin pie in my life, but they’ve never had quite this flavour”.

        It is most definitely a winter/fall kind of thing – no one here would make pumpkin anything outside of this time frame. In my opinion the pumpkin is a pretty bland platform for all the spices-cinnamon and ginger, sometimes cloves. That’s why I thought I might get away with using a different kind of squash, and I usually tone down the spices a bit anyway. If you ever give it a try, stick with what’s called a sugar pumpkin, and find a simple North American recipe with not too much spice. It’s basically a kind of custard pie.

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