Admittedly, Halloween is my least favorite holiday of the year. And it's not because I'm Baptist and it's a religious thing but it's because I'm a) cheap and hate spending so much on costumes that only get worn once 2) a scaredy cat who hates masks, scary things, and sudden movements like SCARY PEOPLE IN MASKS JUMPING OUT AT ME 3) pumpkin carving is the worst with it's pumpkin guts and gore all over my kitchen and oh yeah 4) I'm a FUNHATER.
But rest assured, I set my funhating ways aside for this Halloween and lived it up right or wrong, depending on which side of the Halloween fence you're on. We kicked off the season with the "War of the Costumes 2010." I've always had a "No Scary Costumes" rule and forced encouraged our kids to stay on the light side of Halloween and be things like pirates (Blade 2008=cutest pirate ever) or fireman (Ryder 2008=cutest firefighter ever) or cowgirls (Dakota '09=hello cheapskate!). Well, guess what? They're growing up and with that comes this independence, opinions, mumbo jumbo and now they each have very distinct immoveable ideas of what they want to be for Halloween and shockingly, none of their ideas are Ketchup & Mustard or lions or puppy dogs. Especially not for the boys who are by nature, drawn to terrifying things like villains, Jason, Freddy, bloody zombies or the Scream guy. Not that they've ever even seen any of those movies but they just like how "cool" the masks look. Obviously, I exercised my parental rights and quickly axed any suggestions of such things but I just couldn't get them sold on being Mario & Luigi (I mean seriously, how cute would that be?) or Bacon & Eggs (umm hello?...awesome) or any of my other more lighthearted, amazing suggestions. Word of advice to parents of babies and toddlers out there: Dress your babies and toddlers in the most precious, wonderful, creative costumes that YOU love because someday soon they'll ruin all of your fun, grow up and have a mind of their own, leaving you and that adorable scarecrow costume behind. This year, I had to *gasp* compromise and we ended up with a Werewolf (Blade) who I kept telling myself was just simply Michael J. Fox in his Teenwolf costume, and Ryder as The Unkown Phantom that was definitely creepy but not gory or blatantly scary and then my sweet Dakota who debuted as an Ostrich Rider, you know given her history of riding emus and such.
*Imagine pictures here*
I had firmly announced after the costume selection that this year's costumes were the Scary Max, meaning at no point in their childhoods would their costumes ever be scarier than they were this year. And scary they were, especially when I was in the kitchen one peaceful Saturday morning, enjoying my coffee and the quiet of everyone else being asleep, and turned around to discover a Werewolf and a creepy phantom staring at me. I may or may not have jumped and screamed at the top of my lungs (you'll find this is a common occurrence this time of year) which sent them into a fit of giggles for the next 2 hours. I’m not even safe in my own kitchen, people.
Friday, I put on my Halloween fun-loving hat again (that was my costume this year) and was in charge of Ryder’s Halloween party at school. 21 kids + an hour Halloween fun & games=no problems BUT 21 kids + 6 CHATTY mothers + an hour of Halloween fun & games=Prairie Princess aneurysm. At one point when I was calling Halloween BINGO I told the kids in my best mom/teacher voice, “OK guys, you’ll have to quiet down so you can hear what I’m saying, otherwise you won’t know if you have BINGO.” And then I realized it wasn’t the kids after all, oh no, it was the 6 moms who came to “help” chit chatting along the wall..loudly. So there was that. Next time do you think people will get the wrong impression if in my email coordinating the party I say, “Please just send snacks, drinks, cups, whatever, your attendance is NOT necessary and in fact, forbidden.”? The party was a spooktacular success. At the end of the day Ryder’s teacher pulled me aside to tell me thanks for heading it up and also to tell me how impressed the other moms were with the fun games I came up with and how well I was able to keep the kids reigned in. Then she warned me that word could get out and I could find myself in party planning demand. Great, of all the things to be good at, party planning just had to be one of them.
Then it was trick or treating time. Now here’s another thing about Halloween that I totally don’t get. All year long we tell our kids not to take candy from strangers but on one night a year we actually take them door to door to strangers houses ASKING for candy. Weird. Also, I could buy a lot of candy with the $ spent on costumes, especially Nov. 1st when it’s all marked 75% off at Target.. Every year I try to cut that deal with the kids, “hey I’ll buy you guys all of your favorite candy and lots of it if we can just skip this costume/trick or treating bit”, and they never, ever, go for it. But since they don’t go for that deal I had decided that this year we were getting our moneys worth out of those darn costumes so we were going trick or treating not one, not two, but THREE different beggars nights. I’m a slavedriver like that. Friday night was trick or treat night in a nearby town. It was a gorgeous night so it was actually quite enjoyable being out and about, except that about 20 minutes into trick or treating we started hearing, “Can we be done yet? I’m tired of walking.” To which we responded, “Suck it up cupcakes we’ve got another 40 minutes and then we can be done, now get to knocking on those doors.”
At one house, the kids and I were at the door getting the loot and GI Joe was hanging back on the sidewalk when a girl in a scary clown mask walked by him. Fun fact about Prairie Princess: Not only do I hate scary masks but I really really REALLY hate scary clowns or mainly clowns in general. It stems from an unfortunate run-in I had with some at a Haunted House a few years back where I repeatedly threatened to inflict bodily harm on the creepy clowns that would not leave me alone. ANYWAY, GI Joe being the wonderful, loving, mean husband that he is, told the scary clown to come up behind me and tap me on the shoulder, so she did, and I jumped and screamed..really loud. And then all the kids trick or treating on that street were laughing at me and my own son said to me, “Mommy, next year we may just have Daddy take us trick or treating, I just don’t know if you can handle it.” You might be on to something there, son.
The next night was trick or treat in our small town. Now I have to admit I kinda like that one because we see people we know, do some catching up (Hi Julie!), and just get to enjoy small town living. Except that we got to hear a lot of the same, “Our buckets are almost full, can’t we be done?” and of course we kept cracking the whip and made them collect candy til the last light was turned off. Hey, it’s the least they could do after all they’ve put me through. But we may be blacklisted in our town because here is the joke that GI Joe made up for them to tell:
Q: What do you call 12 midgets?
A: HALF DOZEN
As you can imagine, that joke got very mixed reactions. Some thought it was hysterical and some immediately called DHS to report the kind of parents that would let their kids tell such a politically incorrect joke. One of the kids’ other favorite jokes wasn’t much better..
Q: What did the skeleton say to the vampire?
A: YOU SUCK!
Again, mixed bag. Condescending looks aside, trick or treat #2 was a success. Sidenote: They aren’t allowed to say “suck” in any other context unless they are referring to vampires. Except now they are constantly calling each other vampires..huh. One more thing of interest, this makes approximately the 11th year in a row that I’ve left our front light on and had not one single trick or treater. I just don’t get it. Is 5 miles from town on gravel really too much to ask of trick or treaters? I promise I would give full size candy bars and make it worth their while. I remember the first year we lived out in the boondocks I was sure that if I left the light on, we would have trick or treaters, even if it was the kids who lived out here on their way home from town trick or treating. I was all prepared, stocked up on the best candy, left the light on and waited patiently. GI Joe tried to tell me that they would not come but I was sure that if I bought it (candy) they would come. Apparently, in a lifetime of living out here he’s never had a trick or treater stop. You can imagine my utter disappointment. Next year, I may put up a sign in town luring kids deep out into the country for trick or treat, especially since I may be banned from going with our kids trick or treating. That wouldn’t come off as creepy now would it?
Then there was the 3rd and final night in the town where our church is located. On our way home from church last night we made the best of the last 40 minutes of trick or treat and hit the motherlode of candy. It was speed trick or treating to try and hit as many houses as possible but it paid off. Much to their delight a lot of people took the lazy route and just put out the bucket or candy with a note telling them how many to take. No joke, no small talk, straight to the candy business. But at one house, the light was on and there was no bowl so they had to knock. The 3 of them stood around debating who should knock as no one was overly anxious to do so. Finally, Dakota did the honors but she did a ridiculous timid, quiet knock that no one would ever hear so we told her to knock again, and she did but just the same. And then I yelled, “YOU GOTTA WANT IT! NOW KNOCK LIKE YOU MEAN IT!” GI Joe looked at me incredulously, “You really just said you gotta want it?” Yes, yes I did and I think that proves yet again what an awesome mother I am.
Fun Halloween Fact: I heard a news report the other day that said that parents eat over 50% off their kids Halloween candy. To that I say…ummmm DUH. Like we’d let our kids eat all of that candy and besides haven’t we EARNED it?!?
Tonight we’re recovering from our sugar hangovers and carving pumpkins. Wait, it’s November 1st, and we’re carving pumpkins? What? I have a strong dislike of carving pumpkins for a lot of reasons; the mess, the risks involved when children are playing with knives, the rate at which they rot once you carve into them, just to name a few. As I said, I’m a real bundle of joy this time of year. Last year I managed to convince the kids that painting the pumpkins was so much more fun than carving them, and they fell for it. This year I told them when we got them at the pumpkin patch that we should wait until close to Halloween to carve them so they don’t rot and so our pumpkin lovin’ dogs wouldn’t eat them. I thought I was home free as it had appeared that they had forgotten about it as we made it through all of last week and the entire weekend with nary a mention of doing it. UNTIL Sunday night, Halloween night. All of those jack o lanterns lighting up the night refreshed their memories and I was had. Darn all of you with your cutely carved pumpkins. So here we are, November 1st, carving pumpkins, putting a candle in them and setting them on our front porch. I’m sure the neighbors don’t think we’re strange or anything. Nothing new really.
On the bright side, I have a sizeable supply of Reese’s pumpkins and Sweetart Chews and it’s only 25 days until the best day of the year..Black Friday! And that’s the best part about Halloween…November 1st.