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Growing up in India I did not observe Halloween (though in the last few years a lot of people have started observing it. Read: Partying).  

Things are a little different for Sara. Times have changed and over the years all of us have welcomed new festivals and rituals with open arms and ofcourse she is growing up in a country where she is blessed to have friends from mixed cultures and nationalities. She gets to observe and learn from each one of them and that does make me very happy.

And this year was her first Halloween.

Last evening when she went downstairs  to “celebrate” Halloween I wasn’t expecting a four year old to understand that this day was not just about dressing up or about tricking/treating or carving pumpkins. It was about paying respect to and remembering the loved ones you’ve lost. Or how this day must have been particularly tough for families who may have lost their child. 

And I think for the time being I’d like to keep it that way.

For a four year old, it simply translated into all her friends getting together and trying to look scary. Infact, she didn’t even want to look scary. She wanted to be a pretty witch with a good heart so that she could cast happy spells. And a pretty witch with a big heart she was. Now that I remember, she did mention that there was this one child who was troubling her and she was contemplating turning him into a spider:)

And ofcourse for her it also meant some candy and some more candy and yet more candy. 

For her mother, it simply translated into a child jumping off the walls because of all the sugar and in the process getting all kinds of chemicals and preservatives into her little body. 

Now I am definitely not the mum who will keep a child away from candy all the time. Every once in a while she is allowed one. But to let her eat all that was not something I was okay with. Each time in the past when she has asked for one I have gone ahead and told her scary candy stories and left the choice to her:) I am wicked, I know. But it works! 

And each time she made the correct choice I have asked her to join me in making lollypops at home containing real fruits and edible flowers. And that makes me like “the coolest mom ever”. Ahem!

Read any candy or chocolate label and there you will find artifical flavours, artifical colours, glazing agents and more. Far more scary than the Halloween costumes.

She too wanted to eat them all. Glossy lollypops and candies.

So I let her choose one from her loot and offered to trade all of them for a good quality big bar of dark chocolate or a new book or a toy. It wasn’t easy and took some serious convincing. But I won.

She chose the biggest candy and the book AND the toy. Clever girl.You can’t fight all the battles,can you?

What did I give away to other children who came to me singing, Trick or treat, Trick or treat? 
Sweet Mandarins. Yes, I know, it sucks. And it ofcourse made me “that horrible aunty who was giving away oranges”. I have to admit I did buy a pack of candies the previous day, but I didn’t sleep well that night. I just could not. Especially in a city that is fighting both obesity and diabetes. 
So that evening I went downstairs hoping at least a couple of them will eventually give it a try. And later ask their parents for more if they did like it. Trust me, through my work in the last few months I have met kids who don’t even know what a potato looks like. They do know what french fries are though. A potato, well we have never seen one, they say. Because they have never entered the kitchen. Which brings me to another one of my favourite topics, please ask your child to be in the kitchen with you. But that we will discuss another day.

And you know what, most kids were okay with it. Infact one teenager made my day. “Oh! I love oranges”, she said. Mission accomplished.

Also they did make our home pretty. And made Sara and me smile, all day. All orangey:) She ofcourse wanted us to keep all of them forever until I politely pointed out to her that eventually they will rot.


And all it took was five minutes and a food marker. 
So that was our first Halloween. How was yours? Did all that candy overload make you giddy as well? I’d love to hear your views. And I need to say this here, I am not judging anyone here, I have a dessert at the end of each of my meals and so does Sara 🙂 But we can all try, can’t we?
And before I end, many cultures across the world have ceremonies that honour their ancestors and I hope last evening each one of you spent a minute or two remembering those beautiful people and those beautiful memories. I know I did sleep thinking of my grandparents. 
Images: Personal Album.While you enjoy reading this post with visuals.Please do not use them without asking. They belong to Orange Kitchens unless otherwise stated
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