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Hello from Mumsnet HQ...

Tana Ramsay MPU

...Where we're practising peeling apples in one long strand in readiness for Halloween. But to judge by the results of our Trick or Treat poll, many of you with young children will spend Oct 31 hiding indoors with the lights off. A resounding 60% of Mumsnetters, it turns out, hate the whole 'sweets with menaces' hocus pocus and even more - 83% of those with small children - loathe trick or treating. Still, no need to hide under the sofa for our annual Halloween name change competition

Our current poll is about postnatal depression. Please, if you've had it (or your sister or best friend has), can you/your sister/best friend spare five minutes to fill in the survey? We're putting the names of everyone who responds into the hat for £250 worth of Fat Face vouchers.

If you're sticking around for half-term, then grab a glass and join in our October Book of the Month discussion on Tues evening, 8-10pm, about Pat Barker's The Ghost Road.

The clear favourite in the November Book of the Month poll was Case Histories by Kate Atkinson, a detective novel with a difference. Get your copy and put Tuesday November 25 in your diary. If you're new to book club, here's how it works.

And now for this week's parenting news ...

Flexitime blow: The Government is to delay plans to allow 4.5 million parents to work flexibly, following the appointment of Lord Mandelson as secretary of state for business. He has ordered officials to review all policies in the pipeline to ease the burden on companies so they are less likely to be affected by the economic turndown. The Equality and Human Rights Commission has condemned the move, which was intended to extend the right to flexitime to all parents with children aged up to 16. Nicola Brewer, the commission's chief executive, released research from Mumsnet and Dads Info showing a huge pent-up demand for more flexible working: 83% of fathers and 86% of mothers want to work flexibly, but more than two-thirds have not been able to achieve the working arrangements they want (Independent 20.10.08 and Guardian 22.10.08).

Parental splits fall-out: Children of parents who separate are four times as likely to develop emotional disorders as those whose parents stay together, according to the Office for National Statistics. It found, in a study of 5,000 children aged eight to 19, that parental separation was the top risk factor for children developing emotional problems such as anxiety and depression (Guardian 22.10.08).

Other stories in brief

Delaying parenthood until your 30s, when you have better qualifications and a higher income, gives children a better start in life according to new research (Guardian 17.10.08); parents are increasingly employing lawyers to help them get a place at the school they've earmarked for their child, legal firms said this week (Guardian 23.10.08); lessons about personal, social and health matters, including sex, are to be compulsory in all England's schools for the first time, but the government is setting up a review of how best to achieve this, saying there are "complicated issues" (BBC Online 23.10.08).

What to Buy for Your Baby is a chatty, informative guide to the bewildering world of baby products from prams to potties. Written by Baby Concierge founder Caroline Cosgrove and parenting journalist Liat Joshi, "this handy guide will save you money, time and stress", according to Pregnancy and Birth magazine.

Tana Ramsay MPU Hot threads


Our new partner Fat Face is giving away £250 Fat Cash to one lucky, lucky winner (and if you don't win you can still get 10% off) and Fisher-Price are giving away three Smart Cycles worth £100 each. Find out how to enter.

Quote of the week

Peachy has a different perspective on your hoodie-clad teenage trick or treater: "He's not a beggar, he's a very scary booooooy."

The considerable talents of Clare Grogan, singer, actress and presenter, have been turned to children's literature. Fulfilling her dream to write a positive and inspiring book for young people, Tallulah and The Teenstars shows young girls that with hard work and dedication dreams really can come true.

Looking for somewhere to take the kids? Mumsnetters recommend:

Carmenere's recipe of the week: Cinder toffee

"I've chosen my own recipe for cinder toffee this week as it is a brilliant traditional Halloween treat and really easy. That said, it's so sweet that too much would turn even the most angelic child into a little monster and, be warned, I have actually lost a filling to this stuff in the past."

That's your lot for this week - and next. We're going to be too busy carving pumpkins, but normal newsletter service will resume on November 6th.

MN Towers

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