Monday, 24 September 2012

Trick or Treat!

I am thrilled to have the very talented Aislinn Michaelis guest-posting today. Aislinn and her family recently packed their bags and left Sydney to live in the USA. A mother of two, Aislinn writes fiction – you can find her latest story at Free Flash Fiction. You can also find Aislinn on twitter. 

My kids, aged four and two, in fact our whole family, are looking forward to celebrating Halloween in the USA. It’s a tradition only just developing in Australia, and we know that on this trip we’ll see more costumes, parades and excitement than ever before.

But the hype comes with a price. It’s only September and Halloween goodies are already in stores. There are pumpkins, dolls, decorations, chocolates and costumes, all five weeks before the main event! How can toddlers possibly understand how long they have to wait for Halloween when all these signs are telling them otherwise?

Recently I invented a concept that delighted my four year old son. A trick or treat day.

It started one morning when I couldn’t face baking despite the cold rain outside. To reduce TV hours it would have to be craft. Now, craft is not my forte and I’ve passed this limitation on to my son. He had his heart set on a real chocolate cake, and no amount of persuasion could make him believe a cardboard cake would be as much fun – particularly when it came to the eating. That’s when I came up with the idea of “tricking Daddy.”

My kids love tricks, from TV shows where cunning characters get up to mischief to their own attempts, which usually amount to saying something like, “Mummy, I am a sausage. Ha, ha, I tricked you!” So the idea of tricking Daddy went down a treat, and it was some time into the planning when I remembered as a good parent, I should talk to them about whether Daddy’s feelings might be hurt.

We decided Daddy was man enough to handle it. The kids were thrilled with the idea of running to the door when Daddy arrived home, telling him “We made you a cake, we made you a cake,” and watching his face when he realised it was made of cardboard. Hilarious! We spent a long time making the cake, almost entirely of cardboard, construction paper, sticky tape and glue (the sprinkles are tiny pieces of construction paper.) Then we spent some more fun time practising playing the trick on Daddy with me acting the patsy.

I confess it wasn’t until we went grocery shopping later in the day that I was hit by the idea of compensating for our trickery with a “treat” for someone. I’d been thinking about planting some bulbs for the woman who willingly leased her beautiful home and all its contents to a family with two small children. Australian conditions are not suitable for many bulbs and so the novelty of planting something that would survive the freezing winter and come up to delight someone in the spring was irresistible. The bulbs were out in big bags in front of the supermarket and it seemed like a sign. So we spent the afternoon digging holes in the garden planting “flowers for Naomi.”

It’s not Halloween yet but maybe your family would like to play a trick or create a treat for someone? It’s fun either way!

Aislinn Michaelis

If this is your first visit to at home with Ali – welcome. If you like it, you can follow along through our facebook page or subscribe via email or RSS. Cheers Ali

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Linked to Pinkoddy Halloween and Happy Family Times


  1. LOL... that cake trick is hilarious. Did he get a chuckle out of it? I also love your kind treat :). Wishing you and your family a really fun first halloween all the way over there in the States. (Meanwhile we're looking forward to our Labour Day long weekend here in Australia :) ) xoxo P

  2. I love the idea of compensating for playing a trick on someone by also treating someone. Developing a sense of humour is importanr and as a teacher I appreciate those children who you can have a bit of a joke with! Love your post thanks!

  3. Hi Pauline - he did get a chuckle - but I think we got the most laughs from our practice session, where I repeated expressions of shock and dismay over and over again for the terrible twosome's enjoyment! Thanks for the good wishes and have a great long weekend! :-)

    Mummymito thanks for your comment too. It's good to have some validation of the "tricky" side of the equation as well as of treating someone. I hope my kids turn out to be fun kids but not too tricky for their teachers!

  4. Haha this is a brilliant idea - and something I could do with things that would otherwise go in my recycling bin.

    I'd love you to link this up to my Halloween linky please

    1. I totally agree, a brilliant idea!! I have linked the post up, thanks for the invite.

  5. That is so cute and a great way to persuade your child to do some crafting instead. We celebrate Halloween in Australia but only because our whole street (I live in a gated community)gets into it. I think it's wonderful for children to have more pretend play in their lives and I love your idea of building up to the event with tricks and treats!

  6. Trick or treat for a day is such a fun idea! I can image my girls having lots of fun with this!

  7. I love Halloween. (That might be partly because there is no big meal preparation involved.) We used to have a tradition of "Boo-ing" families - dropping off a basket or bag of goodies at the doorstep and running away before they could see who had done it. That was tricking and treating at the same time!

  8. Boy Mama Teacher Mama - thank you :-) I'm glad you liked it.

    Pinkoddy - thanks, it's not often I have a brilliant crafting idea, LOL, which is why I'm just guesting on At Home with Ali and otherwise in awe of you gals.

    Penny, thank you, I'm nervous about the kids Trick or Treating in our Boston street but there's no way we're getting out of it! Probably Dad will be sent out to face the neighbours with them and I'll stay home doling out candy.

    Janice, thank you very much, I hope you do get some fun out of the idea!

    Suzanne, what a cute idea! I'm sure I could persuade my son to play that trick, particularly if the recipients were willing to share.... ;-)

  9. What a fantastic idea....i have never really embraced the Halloween tradition but love your trick!!For someone who isn't brilliant at crafting you did an exceptional job Mama!!!

  10. What a lovely idea. It's given me some ideas of how to 'celebrate' Halloween with my three year old without doing a traditional trick -or-treat.

  11. What a cute little trick to play - I everyone got a good giggle out of it. That is so sweet to do a treat as well. What a lovely gesture.

  12. That's a fun idea and I like the treat bit for someone else! We're not big on halloween here (and not sure we'll ever be) but there certainly seems to be more about it every year in Oz!

  13. Hahaha, I had such a good laugh reading this. My kids would love to play a trick on their dad! Thanks for sharing :-)


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