Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Halloween has changed since I was a kid

Halloween has changed since I was a kid. Today started out sadly. We stepped out of our house this morning and the two jack-o-lanterns that we had carved yesterday afternoon were gone. POOF! Just gone. I am not sure who was more devastated, myself, BOY or GIRL. I almost cried. It just felt so mean spirited. BOY had helped me design a sad jack-o-lantern and GIRL wanted a happy one. They turned out great and luckily we lit them last night, so the kids got to see them lit up at least. And it was probably some kids looking for a lark, a dare. But, at the expense of 2 little three year olds and one mad mommy. The scarecrows were left on our porch, but they looked quite forlorn without the jack-o-lanterns. (As you can see, I'm not quite over it yet.)

Tonight was quite something. The kids were very excited! GIRL looked absolutely darling in her makeshift owl costume. She was dressed in brown and I had found a winter hat that looked kind of feathery and we topped that with a set of ears. Then I drew black, yellow and pink circles around her eyes. She was a girl owl, of course, hence the pink. And she had a little black on her nose for the beak. BOY was an airplane pilot again. This year in addition to the navy blazer with airplane buttons on the lapel, we added a shirt with airplanes on it and a blue tie. He again wore a set of headphones. Pilot/navigator all in one. We went to a neighborhood just a couple of miles away from us and had dinner with friends and then all went out together.

And out it was. I have never seen the like. 7pm hit and swarms of kids were all over the streets. Houses set up like professional set designers (and some of them were) with grave stones, cob webs, intricate skeletons, moving heads, actors doing mime, etc. Many were scary, so I was a bit reticent about the whole thing, but BOY and GIRL were fine. I kept saying in a loud voice, "It's just pretend. See that PRETEND person in the costume right there?" There were actually lines at some of the houses. Incredible. Of course, the older kids were rolling their eyes at the mom who kept booming, "It's just PRETEND. It isn't real." And some houses were way over the top in distributing spinning lights and GIANT Hershey's candy bars together. But, over the top is fun for Halloween and the kids' eyes were big as saucers. I was so impressed with GIRL not being shy and actually insisting on carrying her own bucket and saying "trick-or-treat" audibly. And the "thank-you's" were frequent. I was proud of them both, especially as some big kids (well over 12) were shoving their way past us. Oh, GOD, that sounds so smug. The confidence of someone who hasn't had teens yet...

So, we were out for about an hour and that was enough. Time to go home. We did keep to the 3 candy rule and BOY was heard repeatedly saying, "O.Kkkkkkk" in a dramatically dejected voice. But, he listened. After we got home and the kids were in bed asleep, I sorted through the candy. They have about 6 pieces left in each of their jack-o-lantern plastic buckets. The buckets are in the closet and if they ask for them, they'll be there. Meanwhile, E and I keep reflecting on the night and how much fun we had. It is a gift to be parents. It is a gift.

Halloween has changed since I was a kid. It used to be that you'd just walk up to a house that had its light on. There might be jack-o-lanterns or the owner might have a costume on, but it was pretty tame overall. Not anymore. And it isn't bad, I don't think, just different. The kids are the same. The same excitement. The same wonder. You can actually go to a house, knock on the door and they give you candy!? It is all in the perspective. I can't wait until next year.

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  1. Someone took your pumpkins? How weird and sad. BTW, the picture of you is great! I never take a good picture, like ever. And the kids with binoculars in the grass - very very cute!

  2. I think Halloween is actually more fun as a parent - as if vicariously enjoying someone else's enjoyment is better than simply enjoying yourself.

  3. Halloween is my favorite excuse to act like a kid. I wore a tiara the entire day. Sorry about your pumpkins.

  4. Yes, it was a big bummer on the jack-o-lanterns, but otherwise Halloween was a blast.

    Amy, thanks for coming by. The pictures of the kids with binoculars are actually photos from iStock photo.

    BubandPie- how true on the joy lived through our children's experience! It is so much fun.

    Mrs. G, a tiara? Too good, too good.

  5. It is different. You know what? It was okay though. We marched through another divided holiday with a reasonable amount of grace.

  6. Okay, *I* am livid about someone stealing your precious pumpkins!

    We ended up staying in our neighborhood on Hallow's Eve. We lit our pumpkins, decorated the doorway, burned candles throughout the house and listened for the spooky knocks at the door. The girls loved handing out the treats and seeing the big kids in their costumes, not to mention staying up way past their bed time, and David and I loved meeting a few of our neighbors. It was much like I remember Halloween being for me. Sadly, it was rather quiet on our street because I think most of the other families headed to the more happenin' places. One of Freya's first trick-or-treating experiences (when she was 2) was in Silverlake and it was a wonderful Halloween production. The streets were closed off, mobs of people, oodles of candy...a great party if you're in the mood, and I was. But this year the quiet holiday was just what the doctor, errr the mother, ordered!


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