Normally, I don’t get too into Halloween. Yeah, I enjoy carving pumpkins and eating candy but I like knives and I’m fat so neither one of those should come as a big surprise. I’ve always thought of it as kind of a stupid holiday derived from pagan celebrations for the dead taken over by confectioners and whoever makes costumes with the word “sexy” in them, i.e. “sexy pirate”, “sexy maid”, “sexy Red Riding Hood”. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t hate Halloween. I go to costume parties and hand out bribes to children threatening me with tricks and/or treats. It’s just that if there is one fall holiday that we could do without, historically Halloween would be near the top of my list. (Before I went to work for the Air Force, Columbus Day was at the top of the list but now I get the day off work so I love explorers – even irritating multilingual ones that run around with boot wearing monkeys.)
This year something happened to me regarding my attitude towards Halloween; for the first time in my life, I caught the Halloween spirit, if there is such a thing. If I were the Grinch of Halloween, you might say that my heart grew three sizes. I think that this is the result of a combination of things. First, the kids are now all old enough, with the exception of Lincoln, to be really excited for trick-or-treating. They were counting down the days until they could run around the neighborhood and extort candy from the neighbors. Second, I had a costume that, while simple, was genuinely frightening to kids. It wasn’t anything special, just a burlap mask and a flannel shirt with jeans, but my scarecrow actually scared Hannah the first time she saw me wearing it. More on that though in a minute.
Speaking of costumes, this year Emma decided at the last minute that she was going to be a zombie. Considering the fact that we didn’t have any fake blood, and only a few things of very old, dried out Halloween makeup, I think that she looked pretty good. Alex and Hannah chose to reuse a few of their beloved costumes, Darth Vader and Snow White respectively. And even though he didn’t leave the house, Lincoln dressed up as a leopard in an attempt to enjoy the holiday as much as his brother and sisters.
I think that the third reason that I enjoyed Halloween so much more than I have in years past is that it was fun. Over the past few years, I’ve been sorely disappointed in the lack of trick-or-treaters in our neighborhood. There have always been a few kids that come to the door, but the streets have historically been pretty deserted. This year though, instead of vacant, rainy sidewalks, the rainy sidewalks were covered with groups of children running from house to house. I’m not sure of the reason for the increased numbers of kids roaming wild. Maybe they’re getting older, or maybe their parents realize that not every house belongs to a serial killer but whatever the reasons are, I was pleased to hear the delighted squeals of children on a sugar high ruling the night. The kids were all having fun, which caused me to have fun too.
I decided that this year I was going to do something different while I passed out candy. At our house, every time the doorbell rings, the dogs freak out. It’s never fun answering the door with two dogs at the top of the steps barking at the alleged threat on the other side of the door. On a night where the doorbell rings every five minutes, I wish that I didn’t have dogs. This is where my awesome costume idea comes into play. I had a costume that, if I sat very still, caused people to wonder if I was a real person or just some stuffed clothing propped on a chair. I decided that I would sit in the driveway with a bowl of candy on my lap. To make me look more stuffed than real, Holly put some straw in my shirt to make it look like I was an actual scarecrow. I then spent the evening listening to kids wonder if I was real and getting poked on my arms and legs to see if I actually was. When the time was right, usually after one or two had taken some candy from the bowl, I’d scare them and we’d all have a good laugh. I even managed to scare a few of the parents while I was at it which totally made my night.
While I was at home terrifying the neighborhood children, Holly was trick-or-treating with the Emma, Alex, and Hannah. Unlike in years past, when the kids would get a few good candy bars and then a bunch of Smarties and Tootsie Rolls, this year the kids scored. There were so many candy bars! I couldn’t believe how much good candy they brought home. For those of you who are wondering, yes, Holly and I did take a “parent tax”.
Now that the candy has been collected, the debate is whether or not we let the kids eat it all at once and deal with a few days of super hyper children or if we ration it and deal with weeks and weeks of children that are only mildly hyper. As hard as it will be, I think the all at once approach is the best. And who knows? Maybe they’ll eat too much at once and throw it all up effectively eliminating all of the candy and all of the bad that comes with it. It has happened before…