Hallowe’en Down Under

rookwood-cemetery-9-of-33 It’s All Hallows’ Eve in the northern hemisphere. My own little grandgoblin is probably just finishing up trick-or-treating. Hyped up on sugar she’s giving her mom fits, dancing in circles and crying, “but I don’t wanna go to bed! Just one more piece of candy? Puhleese?”

I still can’t quite get my mind around the idea of Halloween here in Australia. Halloween is a harvest festival, one last blast before the nights get long and dark and cold. It doesn’t fit here where the nesting magpies are swooping and the the flora is in full flush and it’s just about time to hit the beaches. Halloween is a relatively new phenomenon here in ‘Straya. It’s only been in the last decade that it has started to take hold.

Which is why I was unprepared last night when I glanced out the window to see two ghoulish tots climbing the mountain of my front stoop with their plastic pumpkins, calling, “trick or treat!” I froze for a moment, dumbstruck, then ran to rummage through the cupboard looking for that package of cookies I bought to make Halloween witch cupcakes for a party I didn’t go to. I couldn’t find them and had to disappoint the little monsters. The little boy shook his finger at me and told me to do better next year. I looked at the parents and said, “I’m sorry. We were told that you all don’t trick or treat here.” “Yeah nah,” she told me, “there’s heaps that go around here.”

Last year, we were told that trick-or-treating isn’t a thing here, that some households do it, and the kids only go to houses that are decorated or to friends’ houses where it’s been prearranged. We were at a party last year, so were clueless as to what may have been happening on our street. An internet search for answers brought up a great debate between supporters and detractors, those who shamed me for disappointing the little ones, and those who made the Halloween is un-Australian Facebook page.  Apparently Halloween is growing in popularity; some point to the Americanization of Australia through social media, television, and film where Halloween shows up regularly. I did see many etiquette lists that said stick to the decorated houses if you want treats, and that if you don’t want trick-or-treaters, don’t decorate. Well that makes sense, but had me wondering if the kids mistook all the real spider webs for spooky decor. I swear I swept them down a day ago!

After the kids climbed back down the stoop, I closed the door, drew the blinds and hid in the shadowy recesses of my lolly-free house. A short while later I heard a rumbling, a great horde of children screeching, “trick or treat!” as they grew nearer.  I started shaking. I had visions of the scene in Frankenstein where the angry villagers come over the hill carrying torches, intent on mayhem.

The roar of that sugar-hungry mob reached a deafening pitch as they came closer. I cowered in the corner of my sofa, glancing over at the door, wondering if I should throw the deadbolt, latch the chain. I held my breath and peered through the blinds as they reached the front of my house. Whew! They passed by! I could breathe again. I listened to them swarm on up the block. A good fifteen minutes later I could still hear them in the distance.

I thought, “yeah little kid, I’ll remember next year. I’ll remember not to be home.” But now I kind of regret not having decorated the porch and bought heaps of lollies to hand out. One of the arguments I read in favor of the holiday was that it brings communities together, helps you get to know your neighbors. I would love to gain a reputation with the kids as the scary witch who hands out the best treats. We have been wondering how to meet more of our neighbors; I think I missed out on a great opportunity.

Hmmm…. I bet Halloween decorations are really cheap right now!

 

 

Crochet Witch’s Hat Pattern

*witch's hat crocheted (2 of 3)
BOO! Did I scare you? My blog is a pretty spooky, cobweb covered place lately, in keeping with the season.  We’ve been deep in packing, sorting our stuff into “ship”, “store”, “toss” piles.  The house is full of echoes with the loss of full bookcases and years of accumulated belongings.

I will be so glad to get all of these people out of my house.  We have been overrun with contractors for the last two weeks.  The painters have had the kitchen plastic-covered for two days.  They were supposed to have been finished with that on Wednesday.  They are rather slow.  They paint a little bit and then wander off, and they are not communicating well about their plans or just what the fuck they’re doing.

*witch's hat (3 of 4)
Since I can’t do anything else with them underfoot, I decided to use this opportunity to give you something I’d promised way back.

*witch's hat (1 of 4)
My original intention was to make several of these crochet witch hats and string them together in a garland.  Because, you know.  Garland!

witch's hat crocheted (5 of 7)
and Hallowe’en!!

witch's hat crocheted (6 of 7)
I think you’ll find this pretty easy to throw together.  You could make several for a garland, or for bowl fillers.  Or dress up someone’s barbie dolls;)  I’ll send this one to my granddaughter.

witch's hat crocheted (7 of 7)
I hope my instructions make sense, since I’m a wee bit distracted.  I’m listening to this to help me focus.  My darling daughter told me about it this morning.

*witch's hat crocheted (3 of 3)
How creepy is this doll head?

Here’s the pattern for you:)

Witch Hat Crochet Pattern

Supplies: a small amount of DK or worsted weight yarn, bits of eyelash or other novelty yarn, size F or G hook.  I used F hook and Tahki Cotton Classic in Black

Top of hat:

Rd 1: Make sl loop (wrap yarn around finger, insert hook, yo pull up loop, yo, pull through), 4sc in loop; pull tail to tighten circle.  Join with sl st

Rd 2: ch 2, sc in same st, (sc in next sc, 2 sc in next) twice, sc in next, join with sl st

Rd 3: ch 2, sc in same st, (sc in next sc, 2 sc in next) 2X, sc in next, join with sl st to second chain of beginning ch 2. You should have nine single crochet stitches.

Rds 4 and 5: ch2, sc in next sc and in each sc around. Join with sl st to second ch of beg ch 2.

Rd 6: ch 2, sc in same st, (sc next 2 sc, 2sc in next) 2X, sc in next 2. Join with sl st to second ch of beg ch 2. You should have 12 sc stitches

Rd 7: ch2, sc in next sc and in each sc around. Join with sl st to second ch of beg ch 2.

Rd 8: ch 2, sc in same st, (sc next 2, 2sc in next) 3X, sc in next 2. Join with sl st to second ch of beg ch 2. You should have 16 sc stitches.

Rds 9 and 10: ch2, sc in next sc and in each sc around. Join with sl st to second ch of beg ch 2.

Rd 11: ch 2 sc in same sp, (sc next 3, 2 sc in next) 3X, sc in next 3. Join with sl st to second ch of beg ch 2. You should have 20 sc.

Rds 12 and 13: ch2, sc in next sc and in each sc around. Join with sl st to second ch of beg ch 2.

Brim:

Rd 1: working in only one loop, the one nearest the hat, of each st – ch 2, sc in same st, (sc in next, 2 sc in next) 9X, sc in next. Join with sl st to second ch of beg ch 2; go through both loops this time.

Rd 2: working through both loops – ch2, sc in same st, (sc in next, 2 sc in next) 14X, sc in next. Join with sl st to second ch of beg ch 2. Fasten off.

Rd 3: Join eyelash yarn and work sc in each st around. Join with sl st. Cut yarn and weave in ends.