Hallowe'en, a Celtic holiday in origin, so popular in the US thanks to our twin obsessions of dissimulation and sugar. And, for us, a family holiday, as we celebrate the second birthday of our wonderlassie herself, the princess of Samhain, Miss Eleanor Jane Houston, who joined us on a sunny Hallowe'en day in Oklahoma, just after 4 pm, when the veil was, indeed, the thinnest between birth and new life for us.
Happy birthday Eleanor!
Birthday cake: strawberry/lemon semifreddo. She did ask for "flagola" (strawberry).
I present the October 31 Shoupston family centerpiece, a montage of our values on this multipurpose holiday:
Masha and the Bear dolls, zucca (not yet carved and paganized),
candle (yet undefiled by insertion into pagan idol), fresh flowers (you know, for a birthday,
but also in anticipation of All Saint's/All Souls on November 1 and 2,
and also, these gorgeous things were called "fiori di ping-pong" and I could not resist.)
Choo choo! Calling all compleanni d'ottobre!
At Eleanor's school.
Spiderwebs and the crucifixion.
Umm. So close.
American idea of funny costume.
(I would never)
(SERIOUSLY WHO DOES THIS TO THEIR KID??!!)
Italian idea of standard kid costume.
(less gross but still macabre)
And why would you waste a perfectly good zucca on that carved monstrosity. And put that candle in a sanctuary in front of an icon, for the sweet love of all that is holy.
Trick-or-treating: such a complicated topic here. As a GenX American I can tell you that I had the rare, unsupervised Hallowe'en candy sprint through the neighborhood, but more often was closely supervised by my parents, who carefully checked our candy for suspect treatment, then rolled their eyes as they handed over our rightfully acquired ten pounds of refined, artificially-colored sugar.
I've heard tales of Americans trying to trick-or-treat in Italy. What madness, I think. I would not even attempt that in a random neighborhood with my own children in the U.S.
There is one quartiere in Florence, our own former Le Cure, which is said to be open for trick-or-treating. In Italy, the whole trick-or-treat affair (which Victor charmingly pronounces "trickle treat!" which makes me giggle each time I think progressive leftist thoughts, and then think, we really ought to coin that.) Various expats will head up there this evening to go door to door.
Last week, Jason's campus hosted the children from Victor's scuola materna for a Hallowe'en party. The littlest ones (2 and 3) were plenty confused, but who wouldn't be by 50 extremely friendly and gently noisy American college students. The kids in Victor's age group (4 and 5) were more into it. They made cards and ran around downstairs in the student lounge, then trick-or-treated through the offices of the Gonzaga-in-Florence staff. Their instructions were very specific. One candy each door! Do not eat your candy until you go home from school! I donned a witch hat and did my bit for the team. "Dite dolcetto o scherzetto!" ("Tell her trick-or-treat!") The children shyly held out their very modest (by American standards) paper treat sacks.
Here I am, wearing my requisite witch hat with a bowl of German candy
in front of a depiction of medieval Siena. Sounds about right.
Except this, for Victor. The baffo al palio.
Riding the C1 to school, baffo at the ready.