Lockdown, if I’m honest, did not inspire me ahead of Halloween this year.
Normally this time of year is an excuse for a celebration in our household. In recent years, that’s meant spooky trips to the awesome Spooktacular event at Oakwood Park, dragged on rollercoasters by the other half and enjoying the park’s festive food offerings, or joining traditional celtic Samhain celebrations with my pagan friends, or hosting a big party under an event shelter in our tiny garden, complete nibbles like home made Vegan Cupcakes, Vegan Cookies (made by me so my vegan friends feel included), Greggs Vegan Sausage Rolls and of course, the very non-vegan BBQ with all the trimmings for the rest of us. Some years, we have stretched it out and done all of the above – there’s nothing like spending time with friends.
None of that is an option this year, baking for just 2 seems miserable and our Halloween feast is me and the hubby, so we were absolutely delighted when our friends at M&S dropped off a Halloween Food Hamper filled with their latest treats to cheer us up.
The good news is that while Halloween decorations will probably fail the ‘essential items’ test, anything edible is classed as food and drink, and M&S have created some edible delights that double up as table decorations and bring a little bit of spooky fun even if trick or treating is off the menu this year. Your table can be as spooky as you dare with the bare minimum of effort! Despite being two adults, we got properly into the spirit, munching on chocolate severed fingers, nibbling on spooky sticky toffee cookies and I fought hubby for the Yumnut and won!
The centrepiece of their Halloween collection is the classic M&S Caterpillar Cake Colin – who has been given a Halloween Makeover, so he’s now FrankenColin, along with mini Frankencolins. Little Frankencolins are my new favourite treat and sadly hubbys too, so they didn’t last long. We also sampled sweet and savoury treats – my favourite being a Harry Potter Style chocolate frog…
We both loved the new Pumpkin shaped bread and it while it makes for a stunning centrepiece, it didn’t last long enough because it has the perfect balance between light bread and a crispy crust. Paired with one of the Welsh cheeses and a little tomato chutney it didn’t last long. In fairness, neither did anything else, so I guess we had our Halloween early.
That said, the big Frankencolin is keeping a special place ahead of Halloween, we hadn’t got the heart to eat him (look at that face!)
However, there is another, more special reason why we like Colin so much. Colins of all varieties remind me of my beautiful daughter’s wedding this time last year, she is a huge Colin fan – so much so, she ordered four rather special ‘wedding’ editions from M&S, and lots of little ones instead of a traditional wedding cake. It was her first anniversary yesterday.
It’s been an incredibly unusual year that has truly flown by, saddened that we can’t meet up to celebrate with her in person, but delighted that Colin will join us on Halloween instead. For everyone, our normal parties have changed, our celebrations are smaller and joyous occasions with lots of people seem a distant memory.
However, there’s always a reason to party, there’s always a way to adapt and creative people have always found ways to decorate. This year Halloween will, I’m sure, be celebrated just as lavishly but on a smaller scale. With, it seems, a little help from creative food retailers like M&S.