Category Archives: carving

Halloween in Bath England, 2013

It is the day after Halloween which means we can now start getting excited about the upcoming holidays.  For us in England that begins with fireworks this month and ends with fireworks in the new year.  Before I start making my blog about how much I love this time of the year, let us recap over what it is like to celebrate Halloween as an expat in Bath, England.  
For a few months we had been talking about costumes with the idea that our whole family would go as one thing together.  In the end it turned out that my husband would not be home in time from work to participate and I did not have much in the way to pull off what I wanted to do either.  For our first Halloween here in 2011 my boys had costumes mailed over from the US, last year they celebrated Halloween in the US, and this year it took us all of five minutes per kid to get ready to Trick or Treat.  My eldest went as a mummy in a judo uniform and strips of muslin and my youngest as a Frankenstein monster with green face paint and some make up from my kit.  It was the quickest we have ever prepared for Halloween. But to to be real it is not really that big of a thing here in England.  Only a few shops in town will have a few select halloween items.   Most of the kids costumes I have seen in England have always been in the genre of: witch, mummy, werwolf, vampire, etc.  The more common themes of Halloween.
We almost did not get to carve pumpkins this year, but managed to find three large ones left the day before while we were in town.  On Halloween my boys and I had fun carving our pumpkins.  I decided to try an owl and I kinda like the way he turned out this year.  You should see the pumpkins we painted and carved last year while stuck in the US.
I had not bought any candy in town because I saw how expensive a tiny bag with maybe 12 packs in it would be and it did not seem worth it.  Especially when I did the comparison of candy buying in the US.  So we ended up making cookies on Halloween with homemade sugar icing and handing those out to the kids who knocked on our door. 
For trick or treating we knocked on a couple of doors where we lived and then walked the forty five minutes to where one of my boys goes to school and trick or treated on maybe twenty different doors. This was way more active area then where we lived before.  I believe in 2012 we only found two doors to knock on and a pub that was giving out candy to the kids.  My husband some how found us in the darkness and was able to join in on the Halloween fun.  
To be fair Halloween is not one of my favourite holidays.  Some how even with that fact mentioned I got a little bit of ‘culture shock mixed in with homesickness’ creep up on me while we were out.   It was really strange to me when it happened because I do not really have a home to miss.  As an expat it can be very unsettling when this happens and you never know when it can strike. Luckily as soon as my husband met up with us he was able to help me feel much better and it soon but all dissipated. Which I have to say if you ever feel that way while living abroad…let your family love on you.  It can make all the difference in the world.

* Photography by Bonnie Rose Photography © 2007 – 2013 All rights reserved |

Decorating Pumpkins and the Pork & Apple Festival

Can you believe it is now October and Halloween is just weeks away?  I know we cannot, even though we have been getting our decorating groove on.  I have included first pictures from the decorating process of our pumpkins and squash, an update from last week’s blog post of the Pumpkin patch.  We also spent the weekend in Clinton, IL for a Pork & Apple festival.  It was a beautiful sunny day out for the festival and we had a lot of fun eating pork, ham, and apples!  We also enjoyed a live rockabilly band, the Swamp Tigers, which I highly recommend.  We made rope, saw vintage farm equipment, and watched how different crafts are made.  All in all it has been a great week and perfect start to Fall! Enjoy the photos.

Our pumpkins and Squash for Halloween (L to R: Mummy/Vampire, Jack, Ooogie Boogie, and Boo)
The boys and I started by choosing our first ‘victim’ and taking their ‘Before’ shot.
My son, Maddox, made a Mummy Vampire with felt facial pieces and white crepe streamers for the bandages. 
My son, Ronan, loves Nintendo and wanted to make Boo. More importantly King Boo. Not pictured is his crown, which he is now wearing.  We started by priming him in white and then painting over with a pearly white paint so that his white teeth would stand out in the main white.  Of course Boo is sporting his tongue hanging out of his mouth.
We love Tim Burton at my house so it was only natural we do Ooogie Boogie with this great big Squash from the pumpkin patch. I started first by painting him in two coats of green.  I used various shades of green to outline in his limbs and for contouring after using black for his facial features.  I also gave him his seams, with one gapping seam that has bugs oozing out of him. The final touches were two dice, one in each hand. Now he really is a gambling man—er squash!
Last year we didn’t do pumpkins because we live in England and Halloween is not as big of a holiday as it is in the USA.  But the year before I made a Jack Pumpkin with a white pumpkin. He was great bug since we carved him, he did not last very long.  This year I got an off white pumpkin and added white paint first, then painted on his face with a quote from The Nightmare Before Christmas on the back. 
This is my Jack, from 2010, that I carved out of a white pumpkin for Halloween. 
Here is a final look at our main pumpkins and squash for this year. Looking good!
We have some smaller pumpkins and squashes left and here is one that I am working on now.  I took a few pages of my September Vogue magazine and used it to collage over it using Hodge Podge.  I do not feel it is finished yet, so I may update you with a final piece in an upcoming blog post for October. 
For our really small pumpkins and squashes I used this chrome spray paint to coat them.  I really liked the final look.  However I have also taken a few and used orange glitter to give them some varying accents.  I used an ‘A’ on one of them for a monogram of our surname. 
We went to Clinton, IL for the 44th annual Pork & Apple Festival for food, fun, and music. Maddox is pictured here making his own rope. 
Close up of the tools and simple machine needed to make a rope. 
Ronan and Maddox showing off their ropes at the Pork & Apple Festival in Clinton, IL
The Swamp Tigers
The Swamp Tigers
Vintage farm equipment and apples for sale. Of course we had to buy some to eat too. 
Showing how the corn is processed and vintage license plates on display inside the barn. 
How glass beads are made and a vintage washing machine.
Watching different tradesman in how they make their crafts of both wood and metal. 
Last but not least the boys have some fun before bedtime with their ‘parachuting man’.  See you next week!
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