Trick or Treat
Last year, the rather wonderful Fiona from the Broadstairs Town Team, Chamber of Commerce and Helter Skelter play centre came up with the idea to run a trick or treat trail among the shops and businesses of Broadstairs for small children to safely experience the Halloween tradition. Although I’m not a fan of the idea of encouraging children to demand sweets from strangers, we heard such great things about it last year, we were keen to join in this time round. Us and around 500 other children it would seem!
It was pretty fantastic – as we drove into town, we kept spotting little people and their parents/carers also heading in the same direction, all dressed up and carrying bags or buckets for their anticipated collection. By the time we hit the top of the High Street, there were groups of children and families everywhere. Unfortunately, we knew too many of them so had the issue of Bunny wanting to go with one group even though we’d planned to go with others, so it started off a little stressful – especially as the group we went with had mostly older children so were rushing from one shop to another and weren’t noticing that Bear was always at the back of the queue for each shop, so needed a slower pace.
By the time we reached the bottom of the High Street, the first group decided to head home, so we were able to hook up with the other one to carry on and back up to the starting point. This was much better as the majority of the crowds had dispersed and with other small children in the group, we were able to go at a slower pace.
Afterwards, we all agreed that while it was fantastic for the children and a great way to trick or treat without the intimidation factor, it would be better to wander at our own speed (i.e. not in a group) and possibly for the tickets to be staggered so that not everyone arrives at once, all heading in the same direction. Word of mouth is a powerful thing as it was massive in comparison to last year, so I am sure no-one was prepared for how it would actually play out. And considering the numbers involved, all of the businesses were wonderful: friendly, welcoming, generous and incredibly patient. The girls are still buzzing from it all and I think we have enough sweets to see us through to Christmas!
After a busy afternoon, we were tempted to head home to get warm, but it also being wife’s birthday couldn’t let it go unmarked, so popped home to get changed before going to Prezzo for dinner. Unfortunately, this wasn’t as family-friendly as the rest of the day had been as the waitress hovered over us when we arrived, waiting to take our drink order and then having to be sent off three times when she followed up immediately to take our food order. She has obviously never been to a restaurant with small children! As she had put the children’s menus down with the older child menu facing upwards, we very nearly didn’t spot the Tots option and the tiny pot of broken crayons that the girls had to share didn’t go down too well either!
When the food came, it got better, but unfortunately, we then had to wait 15 minutes after the girls had finished their dessert before the waitress even acknowledged we were ready for the bill (while stood at the terminal) and then another 15 minutes for her to finally bring it over (by this point we were all stood up and putting our coats on as we’d decided they probably weren’t bothered about our money!). It was a shame that we chose the bigger chain over a local independent based on the fact it was probably better for the children, but we’ve learned our lesson and I am contacting the company to explain why we were so disappointed.
What should have been a fun afternoon and evening was spoiled by the poor service at the restaurant and a rather busy start to the trick or treat trail. But the children didn’t seem to mind and had lots of fun which is what really matters, so it looks as though we have started a new tradition! Thank you, and well done to all involved in organising it! We hope they enjoyed it as much as we did.