Tuesday, November 1, 2011

a little halloween history

Now that it's over I can tell the truth.

I don't care for Halloween very much.

I don't enjoy figuring out a costume and then wearing it happily. So I don't.

I blame it on all those years I spent as an elementary school teacher. Halloween was not my favorite day of the school year. I loved seeing the cute kids. I didn't love the craziness.

And then I had a baby and figured I better be happy about Halloween for his sake.

Danny's first Halloween costume was this little China man outfit Dan and I bought in San Francisco a few months before he was born.

This was the trip where I was 5 months pregnant but just looked like a lady who enjoyed burgers and fries and chocolate shakes a little too much. No cute round belly yet. And I was so incredibly embarrassed for Dan to be taking that picture of me.

Dan bought a matching big man China man costume for himself. I think it was a size XXXXL (or something crazy like that since you don't find many 6'2" China men). He wore that costume to hand out candy to our trick-or-treaters that year. I'm pretty sure a lot of them thought he was nuts since he used his crazy China man accent while doing it.

My costume that year was Crazy Pregnant Lady Who Can't Figure Out How to Make Her Hair Look Decent. Pretty much the same costume I have this year...except for the pregnant part. Actually, it's the same costume I've had most years (minus that one part). Either that or Grouchy Mom. That's been a good one too.

The next year Dan was Dwight K. Schrute by day (with the middle schoolers) and China man by night (with China baby). You can't really see it in the pictures but Danny's hat had a long black yarn braid down the back. Little China baby hair. It was adorable.

The very next Halloween we had a baby Cate to dress up too. Dan was rocker dude by day and mild-mannered zookeeper at night. Danny was a monkey and Cate was his banana.

Sadly, no picture of the monkey and his banana together. I lost Mom Points for that one. I'm sure they'll never forgive me.

The next year brought the fireman and his dalmatian puppy. Cate even got to wear the little matching footies with her costume since she was a 16-month-old who didn't know how to walk. I like to think it worked out better this way. She was adorable.

Still adorable the entire time I lugged her around the neighborhood to do the trick-or-treating. Plus, if she hadn't come along I wouldn't have gotten to eat all her candy right?

One of my favorite parts about Halloween (see, I'm not a total Boo-humbug) is the pumpkins. Our across-the-street neighbor has had a big pumpkin patch in her backyard for as long as I can remember. This year, she didn't. I was really bummed when I found out. I was afraid I'd have to actually buy pumpkins at the grocery store this year. Luckily, a kind soul dropped off 4 at our house one Saturday morning and I was spared the agony of paying for grocery store pumpkins.

My neighbor said she does know the sign is spelled wrong. That extra P just wouldn't fit in the sign. I just love looking out the window and seeing pumkins for sale. It makes me smile. Well, it will make me smile again next year when her pumkins are back in business.

Know why I like the pumpkins? For the seeds. My favorite. This year I soaked them in salty water for 24 hours before roasting (like this recipe suggested) and I'm in love. Oh, they are yummy.

We all remember what happened last Halloween, right? Darth Vader and the Marshmallow who finally got her act together and turned into a beautiful cheerleader.

That brings us to this year.

Saturday we went to some kind of spooktacular fun stuff at the dino museum. It was free with our membership. I love free stuff.

We carved pumpkins. Dan asked Cate what kind she wanted and she made a silly face with her tongue sticking out. That's what kind of pumpkin she got. He's quite an artist, wouldn't you say? Danny wanted grumpy. What a surprise.

We went to Barnyard Boo at the farm and got faces painted and other Halloweeny fun stuff. Of course Cate requested a pink cat instead of the standard black one. Danny pointed to the word BOO on the sign with all the choices listed and asked his sister if she wanted boo on her face instead. Dan and I looked at each other in amazement that our kid read the word boo. A proud moment for us.

We ate lunch at Cocolito's on Saturday with a grumpy horse and his cowboy.

The kids and I made spiders out of yarn and pipe cleaners. I didn't pay attention to the directions for the first one so we ended up with a black spider with 16 legs. The rest of them aren't very spooky. That's what happens when you try to be less controlling and perfect with everything and let the kids have some choices. Rainbow spiders for Halloween.

And the best part of Halloween this year by far...

Glitter Pumpkins!

We made these one night with the young women at church. I've never done anything to a pumpkin before besides turn it into a jack-o-lantern. I don't fancy myself a very crafty person. It's just not my thing.

I might have found an exception. These were fun to make and I think I even smile a tiny bit every time I see them up on my shelf.

I'm thinking I'll leave them up until Thanksgiving is done.

I made an orange one too so I could put them together for my other team. War Eagle!

(Speaking of War Eagle, Danny was running his fingers along the words in the hymn book at church on Sunday singing, "War Eagle, fly down the field..." Another proud moment for me.)

The weather was nice yesterday so we played in the leaves at the cousins' house.

Cate loves Jarrett. I told her that he'd be coming over to our house for dinner after trick-or-treating and she said, "Oh, goody! I love Jarrett! When I see him I'm going to give him a hug!" But she said it in her little voice that sounds so much cuter than the way I wrote it. Oh, well.

Cousin Ray Ray dressed up in Cate's puppy costume from a few years ago. Too bad he learned how to walk when he was 10 months old. He missed out on wearing the matching footies.

We went trick-or-treating around the neighborhood when Dan got home from work. The kids wanted to go to Carolyn and Emo's first. She had two bowls set out. One with apples and one with candy. Not just loose candy, bags with 5 or 6 pieces inside. Know what my kids picked?

Apples. No kidding. The very first house on our trick-or-treating route and they chose apples. Another proud moment for the parents.

It didn't last though. Cate pretty much just took handfuls at the rest of the houses we visited. I tried to restrain her but she was on a mission. Luckily, we know all the lovely people and they were all fine with her greediness.

Dan was just thrilled to be with us on our quest for candy. He was a cowboy with a bat-a-tude!

Then there's those evil neighbor friends of ours who forced us to eat warm homemade donuts. They were dressed like lunch ladies so how could we tell them no? I just ate one donut hole though. Self control at its finest.

After all the trick-or-treating, we came home and feasted on the not-from-a-can chili waiting for us in the crock pot. Oh, and cornbread. Can't have chili without cornbread. With honey on top. That's why I skipped the donuts. I'd rather pig out on warm cornbread.

The kids watched It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown on my computer and then went to bed.

I turned off the porch light so nobody would be ding-donging and waking up my kids. That didn't stop the teenage boys though. They ding-donged anyway. I ignored them.

There is one thing about Halloween that I'll miss. It's a little game I started one day when the fighting in the back seat was overwhelming and I had to figure out something to get them to knock it off. Danny named it Halloween Hunting. You look out your window as you're driving along and call out all the pumpkins, skeletons, spiders, witches (you get the idea) that you can see. Thank you to all of you wonderful people who decorate your houses. You saved my sanity this Halloween season.

Maybe Halloween's not so bad after all. Once I get past feeling like a bad mom since I don't sew my kids' costumes, I'm ok. That happens on November 1st. Maybe next year I'll just hand sew their costumes.

Then I'll be an extra awesome mom. Or probably just extra crazy.

And one last little Halloween confession: I took all the chocolate from the kids' bags and hid it in Dan's sock drawer. I left the tootsie rolls though. Those aren't real chocolate anyway.


debra said...

Wow. I had no idea we wear the same costume every year. Someday maybe I'll branch out and be put-together-mom-with-a-clean-house, but then people might start to expect that every day of the year, and that would not go well.

Cathy said...

Put-together-mom-with-a-clean-house seems pretty boring, don't you think? I like Crazy Mom better. She's way more fun.

Megan said...

Such a great retrospective! I love the Darth Vader one and the bug one and especially the glitter pumpkins!

Arlene (CO Kid) said...

That was fun! I never saw you preggo! I took all the chocolate out of the candy we gave out. Why give it to strangers?!?!