It has been ten years since we bought bags of chocolate for the purpose of not eating them (!) You see, whilst in Australia, we were spared the excessive commercialism. We did try one year in Sydney- no candy, rather adult costume party. The oz invitees were darling “Do we have to dress scary?” It was a good time all around (oh apple bobbing on a string, you’re a keeper) and we decided to take the merriment further afield to one of the bars. “We don’t serve freaks.” Buzz kill. (Don’t you worry, we found a rave that welcomed ALL).
So fast forward 10 years and two ankle biters later and here we are contributing to the $7billion that Americans are spending on the holiday. We weren’t even sure if they celebrate it here in Leeds. I was secretly hoping that I would get to abscond with the Twix bars. But our neighbours had some bats on the windows and the grocery carts at the grocery stores were gang busting with pumpkins. So, we waited. The ankle biters are too young to understand and we won’t push the issue unless they are interested. But us adults, truly, we got giddy.
Why? Well, between the initiation of the pop-up porch cafe and about two weeks ago, we brewed our own beer. Forty bottles of deep chocolate stout. Fingers wiping the saliva off the side of my mouth, oh so good. Honestly, one of the top three beers I’ve tasted here in Leeds. Granted, as it was our first batch, the only consistency of quality between the bottles is the inconsistency. But when you get one, you’ll know and you’ll bow your head. So with these gems of liquid chocolate, we decided to share the wealth. Why do the kids get all the swag for the evening? We turned the tables and decided to give the adults some glorious reprieve. We knocked on four neighbours’ doors and gave them the treat and invited them to share some more.
Thus, pop-up porch cafe: chocolate stout edition rolled out. This time, the whole family sat on the porch with drinks in hand (stout, stout, milk, water) basking in the glow of the pumpkin. As darkness descended, we were all just elated: knowing we had marvellous beer and sharing it. I think that is the pulse of Halloween slowly forgotten: neighbourly kindness. One came round. Slowly, they will come.
(Photographs by Vivian Romero)