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‘I’m a bee!!’ – Halloween Memories

While trying to explain Halloween in Ireland to The Canadian One I was remembering all sorts of different traditions we have that are different from his.

For one, in my family we never carved a Jack-O’-Lantern (or Pumpkin). People in Ireland did but in my family we just didn’t do it.

Pumpkin Spiced PicklesOur pumpkin…with our cat…dressed as a pumpkin. Note: Only one of us is excited in this photo. And it’s not her. 

As child, we would dress up, go trick-or-treating, drop all our candy at home and hit the bonfire for some staring at fire and watching of fireworks. Other side-traditions that may have been more my-family-centric included finding the cat, coaxing the cat indoors, locking the cat in the living room, hiding all the wood in the weeks leading up to the bonfire night (for fear of it being stolen) and, of course, no Halloween was complete without the eating of the Halloween Brack.


Oddly, The Canadian One actually already knows about barmbrack. A few months ago, he excitedly told me about this Irish fruitcake that was baked on an episode of Deadwood he’d seen the night before. He said there were items baked into the fruit cake and…

I stopped him there.

“Like a ring and whatnot?” I asked.

“YES!! You know about this cake? Is it a thing?” he exclaimed.

‘Is it a thing?’ is an often asked question in our house.

“Yeah, it’s called brack. Like Halloween brack. Or barmbrack. We eat it at Halloween. It’s got stuff inside it. You know, I was always so excited to get the ring from the brack when I was little. You buy it at Dunnes.”

He stared at me. It was the same expression he had on his face when I was acting out the game ‘conkers’ to him. I often forget when I’m explaining things to people who didn’t grow up with this being normalcy, they may find it fascinating.

I almost told him about bobbing for apples but opted out of it. Also thinking about bobbing for apples now. I mean, you get one kid with a cold playing that game and everyone is wiped out! 

It’s strange to think back on some of the things we did as kids on Halloween. As a child the only rules were be home before dark (and ‘stop slamming the frikkin’ door on your way in and out’). My mother never really knew where we were or what we were doing. We went out unsupervised trick-or-treating. We would wander too close to the bonfire which was basically a pile of wood in the middle of a grassy community area set alight. My brother said there was a shopping trolley on it this year. We ate our candy without thinking twice about if it could be dangerous. Is wasn’t so much, ‘was there poison in our apples?’ it was more ‘why did someone give us apples? Which house was that, let’s never visit again.’

And why were there always so many peanuts in shells. 

So. Many. 

No one ever worried about allergies. Or gluten. Or dairy. 

Me as Julia

Me, as Julia Roberts in Pretty Woman, aged 7 or 8

As for costumes, I’ve dressed as a plethora of different things growing up including, but not limited to, my hooker outfit above. I wanted to be Pretty Woman. I went around telling people I was a hooker until my mother told me I should probably just tell people I was Julia Roberts.

My mother would make all my costumes (yes, including the one above). I was a robot one year in a cardboard box covered in tin foil and remember being sad I couldn’t pee most of the night. People used me as a candy table for a bit. I was the World Cup another year with a gold covered lampshade on my head. I won a costume competition. I was a witch. A ghost. I dressed all in white once and stuck a glowing star to my chest and was the Star of Bethlehem (the curse of attending an all-girls catholic school). 


Me as a witch

As an adult I’ve been a snowman…


With Stan looking dapper as a cat. 

…and Minnie Mouse in the same weekend. This is me (a mere 24 hours after the above photo was taken in a 2am McDonald’s dance-off with Spiderman…that ended in a song because of course…). Poor Stan looking embarrassed in the background:


Last year I decided to be a bee. 

In Canada I’ve been a bee twice. Once while working at a call center a bunch of us dressed as worker bees.

Get it. 

Worker Bees. 




But last year, I made the whole family get in on the bee theme: 


Only one of us is truly happy in this photo


I would later get drunk and yell excitedly ‘I’m a bee!!!” at a Calgary police officer sitting in a truck as we were leaving a Halloween party. ‘He’s a beekeeper!!!’ I would continue to yell across the sidewalk to him as I pointed at The Canadian One. The cop waved to me and yelled back, ‘I KNOW!! WE MET YOU EARLIER!” 

Oh yeah. That’s right. 

He was the same cop who complemented The Canadian One on his beekeeper outfit and suggested we round up all the many bees at the party and take a picture with them. 

We didn’t. 

But dammit, we should have! 

It was only later when I was looking at old pictures to find the one of me as a witch, I remembered this: I was a bee before. In Spain. With my brother. 


Again, one of us is way more excited than the other. 

I’ve now dressed as a bee three times in my lifetime. 

None of them were in Ireland. 

Go figure. 

What are some of your Halloween memories or traditions? Got a funny childhood costume you want to share? 

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I made my first EVER pumpkin….

After a false start last week in which we bought a pumpkin, then it became soft and we had to buy a new, The Canadian One finally managed to get around to teaching me the ways of the pumpkin.

The Start of the Pumpkin
The Start of the Pumpkin


Making the first cut
Making the first cut
Louie comes to see what was going on
Louie comes to see what was going on




Making my first EVER pumpkin cut!
Making my first EVER pumpkin cut!
Louie's still curious
Louie’s still curious







Cat Week entertainment funny humor

Cat Week: Black Cat Superstitions

***Welcome to ‘Cat Week: Like Shark Week But Fluffier’, a week of all things CAT.***

A lot of people fear black cats for a whole host of reasons. Personally I once owned a black cat. Her name was Concorde and her death was tragic and horrible and messy and involved her being stuck in a car engine…I’m 100% sure this had nothing to do with her fur color.

I took this picture of Lilith, a black cat fou...
Not my cat…

Moving on.

In the name of Halloween, we here at TKW, bring you a host of black cat superstitions from around the world!

  • If a black cat crosses your path, it’s said to be bad luck. (US, Europe)
  • Whereas in Ireland, if a black cat crosses your path, it’s said that you will die in some sort of epidemic.
  • In Japan, if a black cat crosses your path, it’s said to be good luck.
  • It’s also said in Japan, if a single woman owns a black cat, she will have many suitors.
  • A black cat on the porch is said to bring prosperity in Italy.
  • If a black cat looks out the window or washes its ears, it’s said that rain is coming. (that explains all the rain in Ireland, my cat was constantly looking out the window)
  • If a cat hears gossip, it’ll spread it around the town. In the Netherlands, cats aren’t allowed in rooms where private conversations are happening for this very reason.
  • To undo bad luck brought on by a black cat, you must walk in a circle, then walk backwards over the spot where the black cat sighting occurred and count to 13.
  • In Germany, it’s believed that if a black cat crosses your path right to left, it’s a bad omen. But left to right, you’re in for some good luck.
  • Meanwhile, back in Italy, if a black cat lies on a sick person’s bed, that person is soon to die.
  • A black cat in China signals famine and poverty.
English: A Black cat Italiano: Un gatto nero D...
(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

It’s interesting to note that 32% of all households in the US (in 2007) had a cat and a majority of cat owners had two cats. And no, I have no idea what color their cats were.

It’s also interesting to be aware that cats (of all colors) can scientifically make you crazy with a parasitic microbe known as Toxoplasma gondii.

‘Infection by a Toxoplasma gondii could make some individuals more prone to some forms of neuroticism and could lead to differences among cultures if enough people are infected’ – Kevin Lafferty, a U.S. Geological Survey scientist at the University of California, Santa Barbara. (source)

This Halloween, we’d like to remind everyone to keep their cat indoors. ‘Round my old neighborhood, cats were seen as objects for kids to throw into bonfires or tie fireworks to. In other neighborhoods, they’re used as live decorations or mock ritual kills. Black cats and Halloween are so prevalent that some shelters refuse to allow people to adopt black cats in October fearing the cat will be killed or abandoned once the holiday is over.

For more Cat Week: Like Shark Week But Fluffier, check out:

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Teaching Thursday: Halloween Crafts

This week my school has been all abuzz about Halloween. The kids love it. LOVE IT.

They dress up. We play games and eat candy. We watch movies. They’re all hyper and crazy-like. It’s…well, it’s a nightmare but…anyway.

Much of this week has been spent decorating my classroom with all manner of crafts by the kids. I posted some pictures this week on Facebook and people were asking about them so I figured I’d write about them as they are suuuuuper easy and require no templates.

I’ve worked at schools where there’s been a limit on paper, on printing, on using the computer, where we’ve not had a printer or photocopier and were banned from using paper other than what we bought ourselves. I, in turn, became really good at  last-minute crafts that require nothing more than a sheet of paper, a scissor and some glue.


The bats are very very easy. All you need is a sheet of paper, crayons, scissors and a pencil.

Step 1: Draw a circle.

Step 2: Draw two triangles.

Step 3: Draw an oval…ish.

Step 4: Trace your hands to make wings.

Step 5: Color and cut out. Decorate classroom, home or hang from ceiling to make flying bats!

Be careful the kids know they’re making bats and not butterflies…and also keep an eye on them as you’d be surprised how creative they can get when left alone for two minutes!



The instructions are simple but I changed it slightly from the site I found it on. You will need an A4 sheet of paper, crayons, scissors, tape and glue.

Here’s the diagram:


1. Cut sheet of A4 paper in half.

2. Color one half of A4 paper on both sides either orange or red or yellow.

3. Fold sheet vertically once. Then fold vertically again so you have a thin strip of paper.

4. Open up paper and cut along folded lines. You should have four strips of paper.

5. Lay strips on top of each other in a * formation as above in the diagram, gluing each strip to each other with a dot of glue in the center. It’ll make it easier for the kids to form a sphere.

6. Starting with the bottom strip, bring the two ends together and secure with tape. Do this with all four strips, securing them both to each other AND to the other strips to form a sphere.

7. For the stem: cut a small piece of paper off the other half of the A4 sheet. Color green on both sides. Form a cylinder with it and secure with tape. Cut slits in cylinder halfway and fray the end. Glue to the top of the pumpkin.

You can either create your own pumpkin patch or tie a string through the top and hang from the ceiling or in a window.