Along comes autumn and with it, Strictly Come Dancing, cosy knits… and celebrity parents at pumpkin patches (and regular parents too, for that matter).
Stacey Solomon recently shared a photo of herself with her three sons Zachary, 13, Leighton, eight, and Rex, two, with her fiancé Joe Swash, and baby daughter, Rose, in their back garden which had been decorated with pumpkins.
'Our little Pumpkins. Today we spent the day in the garden making pumpkin patches with our newest pumpkin,’ she wrote on Instagram.
'We picked these pumpkins the day before Rose was born and I finally had the energy to get out with them all today. Rex loved putting them all around the trees and the big boys wanted to make a spooky patch.'
Originally an American trend, pumpkin patches now appear to be springing up all over the UK (and on Instagram) and are becoming as much a yearly family tradition as a trip to Santa’s Grotto. Like other parenting trends that weren’t a thing, but are now a thing…
Gender reveal parties
The idea of a party to find out the sex of your unborn baby came about in 2008 when Jenna Myers Karvunidis, a pregnant writer living in LA, came up with the idea of a grand gesture to reveal the gender of her unborn baby to her family. During her 20-week scan she asked her midwife to write down the baby’s gender, which was sealed in an envelope. Karvunidis then baked two cakes – filling one with pink icing if it was a girl and the other with blue icing for a boy. Later at a family party, she opened the envelope and sliced open the pink cake to excited shrieks from her family.
Her blog about it went viral and gender reveals became an American pregnancy tradition, along with baby showers, with stars including Kate Hudson, Jessica Alba and Gigi Hadid taking part. They then made their way to the UK with sales of gender party reveal supplies shooting up, with shops like John Lewis stocking gender-reveal party balloons.
However, Karvunidis admitted in 2019 that she had ‘major mixed feelings’ about her creation, and in 2020 a smoke bomb used in a gender reveal party caused a wildfire in California destroying 47,000 acres of forest.
Following America’s lead, Halloween has slowly become one of the UK’s biggest events in recent years, with spending on spooky decorations, fancy dress and trick or treating and party supplies reaching £474million in 2019.
According to data analysts Kantar, Halloween is now the third biggest shopping event in the UK, behind only Christmas and Easter.
Class WhatsApp groups
‘Does anybody know if they have PE tomorrow?’
Love them or loathe them, there’s no avoiding the class WhatsApp group, which in recent years has been pinging away, day and night, with reminders about World Book Day and requests for volunteers for the upcoming cake sale.
That was of course until Covid hit, when they took a slightly bleaker turn. The HSE (Health and Safety Executive) recently issued a warning to primary school parents about the dangers of speculating which child in a class has Covid, making sure that ‘a child’s confidentiality is not broken in line with normal GDPR requirements’.
Even before then they came in for some criticism: in 2019 Dominic Floyd, the headmaster of a private school in Devon, claimed the trend for parents to set up class WhatsApp groups was ‘worrying’. Writing in Attain magazine, a trade publication for the private school sector, he said while they can be a useful way to communicate, they can also be dominated by a ‘few key players’.
‘While these groups can be helpful, and really positive, they can also fuel misunderstanding and become a forum of negativity. Minor complaints become amplified to an unintelligible degree: one lost sock takes on a proportion never intended and, far from being constructive, perspective can quickly be lost.’