by Michael Marinus, an early thirties dad of Megan(3) and James(1) who also works as a Chiropractor in Joburg You’ll find him on twitter @mikemarinus
We, like many South African families, live nestled away from the main roads and hub-bub of the city in a secure complex in the suburbs. This can, at times, be the cause of much frustration what with having to deal with body corporates and nosy neighbours, but it also allows for a safe environment in which our children can play, ride bikes and come 31st October, go trick or treating in the evenings without fear.
My wife and I found ourselves completely unprepared for this when the knock came on the door the year we moved in. “Trick or Treat” cried the ragtag bunch of miniature Batman’s, Princesses and Ben 10 lookalikes crowded around our front door shoving and jostling for position. We looked at each other in dismay and sheepishly ended up fishing in our wallets for coins and raiding the pantry for Safari dried fruit sticks. That was, in our ignorance, all we had to offer.
This resulted in groans and half-hearted thank-you’s as they bustled out of our driveway shaking their heads in disbelief and comparing the contents of each other’s Pick ‘n Pay packets. It has taken a hearty sweet collection and much convincing in the following years to entice them back to our door at Halloween and not have them scowl at us as they cycle past our house till Christmas.
Since having children of our own we have become more in tune with events like Halloween and now try our best to fill their baskets with ‘lekkers’, sending them home to their parents high on sugar for a night of no sleep, sore tummies and multicoloured vomiting. Just what we would expect other parents to do to our kids.
This year my kids will be old enough to join in the fun and I am looking forward to haunting the complex along with them and all the mini Frankensteins, Wondergirls and hopefully the odd, proudly South African, Tokoloshe. Maybe we will even meet some new neighbours, one or two of whom I’m secretly hoping will be as unprepared as we were and the Scrooge McDuck title can eventually be handed over.
I encourage all parents to go pumpkins out this Halloween and share in your child’s and all the other children’s make-believe magic. Even if it is an American tradition, why not embrace it with South African style by dressing your little one up as Liewe Heksie while you do your best Johan van der Walt impression complete with teeth? So give up an old sheet to transform your little angel into a growling ghost or use that tacky 70’s shirt taking up space in the back of your cupboard to complete his Austin Powers transformation! Get involved and who knows, you might just look good in Superman leggings!