Halloween Preparations

Hey look! I found that picture that I couldn’t find when I was ranting about Halloween costumes before.

This is exciting because I can now document the homemade raffia-and-twig broom, but it’s also a little disappointing because she’s clearly wearing the sort of cheap fabric that shows that the broom is the only homemade aspect of this costume.

Also, she looks so not psyched. Like a desperately unhappy prop who has not quite decided to cry yet. But it was her first Halloween, and so I plunked her down between an assortment of Halloween accessories because the picture was so important. Part of me feels completely stupid for having done this to the poor kid, and yet all of me knows that I would do it again in a second. Absolutely. Heck, if I could get my hands on your new babies, I’d do it to them, too, probably.

At our house we’ve been in a bit of a mad scramble to figure out our Halloween plan. For the first few years it was easy: we’d take a short walk around the neighborhood, and the only complication was that both parents wanted to experience the joy of trick-or-treating, so we’d leave a bowl of candy outside and hope for the best. Later it evolved, and I’d usually take a late-afternoon swing around our block with the girls following a neighborhood party, then we’d break for dinner and Cute W would bring them out for a longer jaunt. Most years our friends (including J’s BFF) would join us, because both sets of kids were friendly and the area around their house is sparsely populated.

This year’s been complicated by the weather and by our aging children. Apparently M’s little crowd “always” does the same routine, including dinner at one friend’s house, then trick-or-treating in two different neighborhoods. M explained this to me, all matter-of-fact, a few days ago.

“Wait a minute,” I interrupted. “They always do this? Like, last year they did this?”

“Uh-huh.”

“But you guys were all friends last year. Did you know that was happening?”

“Not until later.”

“So, the next day, when you found out that they all had dinner together and trick-or-treated together while you were out with J and Daddy. . . ?”

“Yeah, I felt pretty bad about it. But they just didn’t think of asking me. They didn’t, like, mean to or anything.”

Awesome. And I had no clue that any of this happened, or that she was sad, or anything.  I did my best to walk a lovely neutral line between pointing out that she was right not to take things too personally, while also pointing out that I have found it more pleasant to be friends with people who lean more to the “thoughtful” than the “thoughtless” end of the Friend Spectrum.  But, honestly, I had no idea about this, so for all I know she could be up to all sorts of no good thoughtlessness herself, and I’ll likely only find out years later. Look, it’s almost Halloween and I’m scaring myself silly.

Anyway, M is following the herd wherever  it goes, although we’re not entirely sure where that will be since the chief organizer of the Annual Halloween Outing is unexpectedly out of town. So that’s a work in progress.

Meanwhile, J and her BFF want to trick-or-treat together, but of course BFF’s big brother is also in 5th grade and therefore has his own peer group with whom negotiations are ongoing.

So, we’ll see how it goes. Of course all of this nuttiness is because everyone was on hold wondering what Sandy would bring, so now people have made their in-case-of-rain plans and then changed them again, and now we’re all in suspense. At dinner we told the girls that we were fortunate that Halloween is going on as scheduled, and M was indignant. “You can’t just cancel Halloween! That can’t happen!” She just kept arguing, and usually I don’t continue arguing when she’s clearly wrong and I’m clearly right (which, as you might expect, is pretty much every time), but this conversation got quite heated. I think it was post-hurricane stress. Both girls thought the whole kerfuffle was ridiculous, and I’m torn between feeling glad that they’re unaware of how awful it was for some people versus putting them in front of pictures of devastation while shaking them and shouting, “Do you see how lucky we are!?! Be grateful!!” And I think it was that stress that made me start ranting, “If the town tells you not to have Halloween, the parents aren’t going to let the kids out, and even if the kids sneak out and ring on doorbells, no one will give them candy” and threatening to get up from the dinner table and Google up some municipal websites right now, dammit.

Come to think of it, learning that an entire holiday was being cancelled or postponed for many might have been the perfect way to give them a sense of the seriousness without putting them in front of terrible photographs.

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On a far more cheerful note, thank you-oh-thank you to Steve Barnes at TU’s Table Hopping blog for letting us know that if we wear a costume to Chipotle on Halloween, we can get a $2 Boorrito (or similar item, like my beloved bowl). Now, that’s my kind of treat!

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