31 October 2008

Spookfest 2008

Halloween here follows a loose pattern, speckled with rituals from which none of us will deviate without a fight:

  • Momo makes the kids' costumes. They arrive a week or two before the event and there is huge celebration and a lot of trying on and wearing the outfits to practice because we all know a person just can't put on, say, a ninja outfit and suddenly BE a ninja...ninjas must be secretive and highly trained.
  • Chris and I always go up for the Halloween Parade at school. While there, we cement plans with other parents about where and when to meet up later since we know there won't be any chance of talking at the bus stop because the kids will all be psychotic.
  • Dinner is always Messy Mac & Peas (translation: frozen mac & cheese with frozen peas, both of which require minimal involvement to prepare. If we happen to eat this for dinner in March, it is still called 'Halloween Dinner'). While dinner is making, I roast pumpkin seeds to snack on. Ross is very fond of hot, crunchy, salty pumpkin seeds - he doesn't need the pumpkin carved into any shapes (although that's fun, too).
  • Lars always asks for his face to be painted but gets impatient and only has a little makeup put on. Ross always stands still longer, dictating more impressive scars be added here, better gashes there. He always starts off very smug about his better paint job but gets his comeuppance when it takes four times as long to wash the stuff off his face than it takes to clean up Lars.
  • The Dads take the kids around and the Moms hand out candy. Because our 'hood involves a lot of walking and the kids are all still pretty young, the Dads usually have a fleet of wagons (one of which is a beer cooler, atop which one kid can ride...) and the Moms often consolidate their efforts on porches here and there, to maximize social time and lessen the acreage the Dads have to cover.
  • As the hordes lessen and the children begin to drag, friends gather to wind down and share stories from the evening before heading to their own houses where candy will be admired and sorted.
These are the things we do every year, things that define Halloween here, things the kids talk about sporadically throughout the year as they dream fondly of the next October.

This year, though, we did some stuff off the plan:

  • Ross got invited to trick-or-treat with friends in a nearby neighborhood, so he cooked up a plan to go out early in our road and then have me drive him over to be with his friends. In this way, he managed to canvas two neighborhoods and now has enough candy to fuel his hockey team for a week.
  • We did not carve the pumpkin. The thought of attempting to wash the seeds without a colander in a sink that barely fits a coffee mug was just too daunting and besides, I don't have an oven to roast them in, unless I'm prepared to do tiny batches in the toaster oven (which I was apparently not). Also, it's amusing to watch the kitten try to figure the pumpkin out.
It felt a little odd not to have a jack-o-lantern out and I missed both the pumpkin seeds and Ross in the evening but everyone had a great time...and that's really what Halloween is all about.


Sister K said...

ooooooooh i wish i could've been there to celebrate!!! btw, i loved the kid who came as a pile of leaves..clever...lol...
looked like soooo much fun!

Grandmoo said...

If the boys have any chocolate they don't want, please save it until February (it melts in the mail before then); you do remember my address, right?


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