Tonight is Kiwi Halloween, exactly 6 months before it occurs in the northern hemisphere. Pumpkins are of course abundant when we bring our Halloween in line with the seasons. I’m preparing for tonight’s Kiwi Halloween on Ponsonby Rd by carving a pumpkin and making pumpkin soup for the helpers.

The same pumpkin looks different when the candle is lit inside it. That eerie look is in keeping with the original meaning of this old festival of Samhain, the day of the dead.
Tonight people will bring their candles and pumpkin lanterns to light on Ponsonby Rd, where I will be keeping vigil with my helpers. Who knows how many people will turn up, and what will happen? This is the third year I’ve done this, and last year children turned up who never wanted to leave, they were so fascinated by it all.

This year we will have a special area for those who died in the Christchurch earthquake. One woman is going to bring her violin to play, and I will play on my English concertina. The concertina is made our of rosewood, with silver-tipped buttons. It is 140 years old, and belonged to the McKeever grandmother who died before I was born. Her ancestry was Irish and English, and when I play this old instrument I can feel my ancestry flowing into me.