31 October, 2009

Halloween has come and gone

Avery is in a stupor of post sugar-high, but not as high as her hair. Yes, her first visit to a hair salon, to emerge a mind-numbing hour and a half later as... Holly Golightly. A dress from Tesco, a tiara from Shepherds Bush Market, a cigarette holder and gloves from some skeevy online costumier, all combined for quite the best Halloween costume ever. There were fully five salon employees hovering around her and her entirely silent hairdo creator Leno, providing bobby pins and hair spray at the drop of a hat. Passersby on the pavement stopped to look in the windows. One of the stylists said hesitantly to me, "Do you know that man out there? Because he's waving like crazy," and there was John, driving by in the Cinquecento to pick us up, late as we were in the service of Avery's hair.

On to a fabulous Halloween party at the home of one of Avery's school friends, a plateful of the BEST lasagne from Ottolenghi (I am not making lasagne again until I figure out exactly how to replicate it: carrots, for one thing), washed down with Moet et Chandon. And then chaperoning the trick or treating in Kensington, quite the poshest neighborhood I personally have ever canvassed in search of mindless amounts of high fructose corn syrup.

There was a four-story house covered from top to bottom by a 40-foot square black spider! There was a pathway covered over by arbors of trailing ivy in blazing autumnal colors, flanked on either side by gorgeously carved pumpkins (never mind my usual childish efforts, I enjoy it!). Carvings of galleons in full sail, cats with arched backs, flying ghosts, some in that impossibly sophisticated method that my sister can produce, where your knife does not fully penetrate the pumpkin but skims across the surface so the candles glow from inside. Screaming crowds of tweeners, little crowds of goggle-eyed toddlers clutching at their parents' hands, tiny handbag dogs dressed up as unconvincing devils.

Back to the party for a homely and lovingly created old-fashioned party: Pin the Mould on the Pumpkin, bobbing for apples, throwing apple peels to read the first initial of the name of the man you will marry! Prizes and fairy cakes decorated with butterflies, a sort of Lucky Dip in Jello, a classmate as Puss in Boots, a witch in knee-high Fendi boots, and our own little Truman Capote heroine.

Avery's now closeted in the bathroom, removing her bobby pins. The entire world smells like hair spray. I'm waiting outside in case her head falls off once the pins are all out. All's right with the world. Happy Halloween!


A Cuban In London said...

Hello, thanks for your visit the other day. Now that all the pleasantries are done, let me just ask you: are you also an Ottolenghi person? If you are, that makes two more, I am the other one, by the way. I love the veggie recipes that the Guardian features on Saturdays and I have uploaded a couple of them on my blog in one of my sections: Food, Music... Ad Infinitum.

Oh, yes, Halloween. It was mad last night, all the revellers. My wife and our children were out in the West End, at Ed's Diner and it was great to see such a varied sea of people moving about, prancing down Old Compton Street or stopping the traffic on Shaftesbury Avenue. Oh, London, that's why I love you so much.

That's a great photo. At first I had to do a double-take to convince myself that no, it wasnt Audrey. :-)

Have a good week.

Kristen In London said...

Well, let's see, if loving the lasagne makes me one, I'm an Ottolenghi person! It's my first experience with their food. I think it was bechamel that made it so sublime. So rich, meaty, lovely.

I think you had more variety to your Halloween than we had: it was a bit too posh for me, next year Shepherds Bush! Might as well go all the way.

Thanks for visiting!

Bee said...

Next year I'm going to Kensington! It sounds like London has taken up Halloween in a big way. We were just thrilled, out here in the sticks, to find a few houses with (very simple) pumpkins outside as candy-advertising beacons.

Avery looks absolutely splendid. I can't believe you managed that on the cheap. (I assume that the hair was the most expensive bit?) My daughter (nearly 12) is also a major Audrey Hepburn fan.

Kristen In London said...

My goodness, the dress was £7, the tiara about £2, she borrowed my fake pearls, and then, you're right... the hair cost the earth! The truly sad thing (s): how it STANK with hairspray, and how she had to bury it under a helmet to spend all the next day at the stable!

Long Live Audrey...

Just a Plane Ride Away said...

What a FABULOUS costume! And a great pic--one she will treasure in years to come, I'm sure :-)

I think lasagne washed down with champagne is definitely the way to go... any day! Am amazed to read about Halloween in London. In the boonies back in England, everyone was positively bah humbug about the whole Halloween deal. I guess we should have made our way into Town.

Kristen In London said...

Oh, believe me, Plane Ride, when we lived here in the early 90s, Halloween was a non-starter! Of course the Brits are not so very thrilled at this American invasion of... begging, and begging for sugar of all things. But it's good fun!