Last night, Mac sat me down with his serious face on. He would like a Halloween party for just “a little some friends mummy”. David is all for it and questioned me at length on the start and end time of the potential party. I drew two figures out of the air, one was 3.30pm, the other was 6pm. Sigh of relief from my beloved – he doesn’t get home much before seven most nights. “Hold on a minute!” I cried to both departing husband and child “I haven’t said yes yet!”
But of course, the die is cast and the scene is set. Mac is already designing his costume (he wants to be like “Drackla mummy”) and David is ensuring he has a late meeting that day. Mac’s guest list – read out to me during bathtime - includes Tom, Ben and Luke and his cousins Caitlin and Ian. Once Mac was in bed and David and I were settling down to watch some mindless TV I rang Bea and got Enormous Au Pair who sounded as if she were eating the phone. I eventually got my dear sister who complained at the “chicken grease all over the handset”. Enormous Au Pair has taken to having a KFC meal every evening, Weight Watchers are in despair and have offered Bea a refund.
“That sounds wonderful darling and…..yes…..I’m free that afternoon so I can come and help!” Discussions were held about just how gruesome we could be with the food without it giving poor delicate Caitlin nightmares. Then I rang Charlie who promised to whip into Asda and buy up their Halloween decoration range and join in the fun. Auntie Ivy rang to ask if we watched Frankenstein last night and then chatted all the way through the first twenty minutes of The Bill – she’s coming along to the party as well and will be dressed as a witch. Then Lydia texted so I invited her and Matthew – I was seriously in danger of enjoying myself here.
This morning, when I told Mac about the extended guest list he looked miffed for all of ten seconds and then realised that he could perhaps capitalise on his mothers social circle. “Will they be bringing presents and scary things, Lydiarrrr and my brother?” he enquired hopefully. Hm.
Marjorie is also planning something big for Halloween – she caught me on the way back from Lewisham (we’d been to buy material for our outfits – don’t ask) and asked me if I was prepared to supervise the Bobbing for Apples “We’re opening up the house to local revellers, y’know kids and neighbours!” she said gleefully clapping her hands together “I’ll be dressed as something ghostly and ethereal and Frank will be a ghoul.” My mind was boggling at this point and so was caught unawares with her next sentence “I say, why don’t we have a joint party? Open up both houses – we could take one of the fence panels out and link that way? Oh, it’ll be great fun!” Mac looked dubious at this, as well he might.
“Having a Halloween party?” came a voice from behind me. The postman, weighed down with the usual junk that ends up on my door mat, was standing there resplendent in his blue and red uniform. “Mrs Travis over by the park has some fabulous Halloween parties y’know.”. Marjorie visibly bristled “Oh yes?” she enquired tartly. Postie handed me a pile of brown envelopes “Well, she did. But I suppose she won’t have any more now, thanks to the apple bobbing, erm, incident last year.”. We were both now agog and demanded to know more. Postie drew himself up to his full height (five foot two) and said in hushed tones “One of her guests got a bit carried away whilst bobbing for apples, inhaled too much water and drowned. Carked it, there and then on the floor, a large Cox in her mouth”.
I’m afraid I reverted to fourteen years of age and started sniggering whilst Marjorie looked on in horror. “You’re joking?” she squealed, no doubt thinking of guests dying on her shagpile and ruining the evening entirely. “Well, that’s what I heard anyway” Postie said, tapping the side of his nose. “Mrs Travis didn’t come out of her house for a month afterwards, I had a parcel she had to sign for and she wouldn’t even open the door. Well, you wouldn’t, would you? If you’d had someone kick the bucket in your living room?” He moved off down the road, shaking his head in wonderment and roaring with laughter. “Put you right off apples for life that would as well wouldn’t it!” he bellowed.
Marjorie was clutching the sides of her head and gazing at me open-mouthed and with huge eyes. She looked like The Scream – quite apt really. “I’m sure it’s just a rumour that’s grown out of all proportion” I said, racking my brains to see if I could remember anything in the local press about Death by Bobbing. I couldn’t to be honest and I’m usually quite good at retaining things like this in the party of my brain marked “Useless Information”.
She shot off home, no doubt to relay the information to Frank – I went inside with Mac to continue the debate about whether or not Dracula would, if he had access to denim, wear jeans with his cape.