Half Term Holidays and a Halloween Nightmare!

Unlike previous Autumn half terms, this year I was determined to get myself organised early and decided that we should book a week away by the sea. That way, I could incorporate Halloween into the holiday, thus sparing my poor neighbours from my two ghoulish, begging children



Holiday hunting on a budget

So, way back in September, I trawled the internet trying to find a relatively cheap yet comfortably furnished seaside cottage for all the family. I found the perfect place and put down my deposit - we were off to Salcombe in Devon for a week. Sorted!

What I didn't realise until the week before we were due to go was that it was a Friday changeover, which meant Halloween would be the day we travelled back. But what did it matter? A minor blip, easily overcome. If we left early enough, we would be back in plenty of time for Trick or Treating and I would buy new outfits when we were away.

Getting there was a breeze

We spent a great week rock pooling, indoor swimming, fishing, visiting theme parks and museums - all the usual stuff - and we thoroughly enjoyed ourselves. The kids were well behaved (most of the time) and the weather was so good we even paddled in the sea.

After such a lovely time, by the day of departure, we were all well rested and ready to come home.

Halloween excitement

It was Halloween and for the kids, excitement was rising by the minute.

We decided to leave by no later than 10.30am, and so, with the car packed full of fishing rods, crab lines, buckets and plastic beach toys (all acquired on holiday), we set off.

We ditched the idea of buying new Halloween costumes - there wasn't room, and they could easily change into their old ones and vamp them up a bit when we got home, which we anticipated to be about 3.30pm latest.

A nightmare journey home

What followed, however, was one of those nightmarish journeys every parent with young children dreads.

After an hour plus on the A-roads, a lorry overturned on the M5, causing a two hour queue. This was followed by a one hour 'wee and something to eat stop' at a lovely Welcome Break service station.

Four hours had already passed, and so it went on... back in the car for one hour. Five hours passed. Finally reach M4. Take wrong turn and drive 20 mins towards Cardiff. Actually cross border into Wales (daughter is thrilled). Back on M4 in right direction. Another wee break and snack. Six hours passed. Hit roadworks on M4.

Seven hours passed. Drop my mum home. Drive home ourselves. Final tally - seven and a half hours spent sitting in the car with frantic, miserable kids, convinced they were going to miss Halloween completely.

Halloween... rescued?

Luckily, with minutes to spare, frazzled and car sick and with no need for white face paint, they got their Halloween costumes on, went trick or treating and all ended well.

I can now safely say that I have experienced a proper, hellish Halloween... Think I'll be staying put next year!

Jayne, Working Mum and Freelance Editor

Note... Before long car journeys

With a plan and a box of tricks in your arsenal, you can survive a long car journey with your sanity intact. Be prepared and read our helpful tips:

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