Friday, November 1, 2013

Halloween at last

This year I got out my Halloween flair early. My niece and nephew were coming to visit the last weekend in September, so I figured I might as well decorate for some potentially appreciative little eyes. I tried to only get out my favorite pieces, and told myself I had plenty of time to haul the rest of the holiday’s offerings upstairs if warranted. There was still the anticipation that this Halloween would vaguely mirror those that have come before it in this house. The kids were still talking about their costumes at the beginning of the month, so I set aside any notion that change was coming our way.

As the month went on, my son started to talk less about making plans, and I thought my daughter’s enthusiasm had waned. As a defense mechanism of some sort, I started to lose interest. I really just wanted to put the decorations away by the middle of the month. I might have even considered dusting, my mind was in such a bizarre place. Part of me thought we could just sort of skip Halloween. It’s not like Christmas where there is still a tradition to uphold, even once the magic of a man in a red suit starts to fade. Being a creature of habit does not make it simple to change, and sometimes attempts to do so defy logic.

My daughter asked about getting pumpkins a couple of times, but we never actually made plans to go. The couple of times I did ask, she was busy doing something very important on the couch in front of the television. Sure, I could have ordered everyone into the van and set out to find the great pumpkin patch, but that was not the way to honor such a tradition. They might not have even smiled in the photos I forced them to pose for. I do a fairly decent job of celebrating the people my children are becoming and looking to what the future has waiting. However, I was not happy with a concrete reminder of the passage of time being marked by holiday traditions they possibly no longer wanted to participate in.

Suddenly my daughter declared her costume idea, as my son declared he was not going out. For twelve of her thirteen years, my daughter had no reason to plan for trick-or-treating, as she just went along with the crowd. She had no problem standing as a lime green crayon next to two gangsters. The point was to get candy by wandering the neighborhood in the dark. I started to suggest that she make plans, and tried to ask my son to do me a personal favor by just wandering around in costume for a bit. We have three bins of costume makings in our basement, so it was not as if the effort needed to be a grand one. I had one child with a costume and nobody to share the road with and another child who just seemed to have no ambition.

The day before Halloween we had no pumpkins on our porch, despite the rest of the other d├ęcor that was strewn everywhere. The girl had lost interest in actually selecting her pumpkin, but still demanded to have one. It took more than one stop, by more than one parent to make her squash dreams come true at the last minute. I also had to rectify the situation of us having no candy to hand out. Don’t get me wrong, we have candy, and plenty of it, but not trick-or-treater candy.

On Halloween morning I felt deflated. The ceramic pumpkins, plastic skeletons, and other attempts at creepiness were just mocking me from every nook and cranny. I started to fear that I would have to eat a sensible breakfast on November first because I was going to have no candy gathering minions by the grim looks of things. I quickly realized that I might finally feel no guilt taking advantage of the fifty percent off sales on candy the day after Halloween, for baking of course. I could not possibly eat all of that candy by itself. Some of it had to be baked into cookies first. I also started to consider the potential relaxation that might accompany the absence of the obligatory rushed dinner, intended only to provide a base layer stomach coating for candy. While a smidge of hormones coupled with sentimentality tried to take over in a perfect storm of tears, I rose above the wave and set my sights on reading a book for the afternoon.

The first text came from my son around 9:45 asking if his friend could come over. Since the kids had a half day of school, I was guardedly optimistic. I was not sure if they were just going to kill some time in the afternoon, or if this visit was extending into the evening - prime trick-or-treating time. A few more texts and I realized there was possibility. By 11:00, my daughter had gotten off the bus and asked if she could go trick-or-treating with a friend in her neighborhood…absolutely! Oh, but maybe the boy child wanted to go? Did his friend want to go? Would all interested parties have someone to go with? I let the allure of chocolate wash over me and tried to just have faith that things would work out.

I remained optimistic, despite Fozzie's refusal to cooperate with his Halloween finery. Seriously, he would not move, in part due to the jingling little bells being absolutely terrifying, and in part because he is a weirdo. When he started crying, I removed the offensive item.

Then this happened...
 Then this...
 And even this...
It was exhausting and wonderful and I swear I am ready to accept the possibility that it was the last big candy haul. No, really, I am...


  1. Despite your denials, you will be crying like Fozzie when they stop trick or treating

  2. I love it when a plan comes together. Good job at not pushing. I think that would have been the death knell for the entire thing. They came to it on their own, which is a beautiful thing. Kids growing out of traditions sucks, though! But I love those cookies! Adorable.

  3. OMG did you make those cookies? They are AH-mazing....poor little Fozzie....he looks traumatized. We had a nice Halloween because the rain held-out until 7:30. Most of the kids started trick-or-treating early to beat the rain.
    It looks like y'all had a great Halloween in spite of the late plans. :D

  4. You made those freaking cookies???? Who ARE you? Oh yeah. You totally wear a cape. :)