Catching Up to Halloween

I can’t quite believe that Halloween is only days away. We’ve been both unduly casual and taken by surprise by the holiday this year. Usually, J is begging me to put out Halloween decorations in September, and I insist that we wait until after her birthday (October 1st). This time another week or so passed by before I gave J the go-ahead to pull out the boxes, and it was only a few days ago that I realized that many items never got past the playroom down in the basement.

M was ho-hum on the decor, and for her costume, she and a friend had determined that they wanted to do something together, but they didn’t care what. “Maybe peanut butter and jelly? I don’t know. I don’t care. Whatever she wants,” said M, and after consulting with the friend’s mom, I learned that she’d gotten the same story. I kept asking if M wanted to look around to see if there was a costume that she was genuinely excited about, but she really didn’t care, and neither did her friend, until the two moms panicked and just ordered up the peanut butter and jelly set. Okay, done. Does part of me feel guilty about ordering an imagination-free, 100% polyester costume from a non-local retailer? Yep. But Halloween costumes don’t really drive me wild, either, and I’ve made peace with my non-Halloween-creative status.

Meanwhile, J was even less enthusiastic about the costume process this year. I’d ask and ask what she’d like to be, and finally she sighed and said, “Maybe I’ll just be a crayon.” She was thinking of M’s costume from last year. M had been part of a “pack” of crayons. I had no idea why J was interested in the crayon costume, especially when none of her friends were interested. Finally we pulled the costume out. Huh. Also too big, and the hat was broken. J didn’t like how it fit, and she was bummed about the hat, but not sure what to do about it. I decided that we needed an inspirational outing to The Costumer.

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J’s at that awkward Halloween age. Many costumes are too cutey-patootie and babyish, while plenty of girls’ costumes are frilly or trashy or (our personal favorite!) a mixture of both. She wandered all over, still uninspired. Finally we came up with a plan. She has a white, draping sort of t-shirt that she’s worn in the past to look like a goddess, and The Costumer had tons of golden goddess-style accessories. Since her main costume’s stuff scrounged around the house, J was allowed to spend her Halloween budget on fabulous accessories. Finally, some costume excitement!

So the costumes were settled last week. Our weekend was busy, and we’d finally settled down by late Sunday afternoon, and we fully intended to lounge around, slob-like, with books and or football on tv, when Cute W and I realized that we hadn’t gotten around to getting pumpkins yet. D’oh! So the girls and I headed out to bag some pumpkins, and then they set to work carving while I roasted pumpkin seeds.

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Ugh, I hate pumpkin seeds. They’re gross. No one else (except Cute W) really likes them, either, but every year they sort of forget. And I can’t, in good conscience, deny my children a request to try a vegetable product. Of course I have to offer them up. This year I grouped them into plain with salt, cumin-chili-garlic, and cinnamon-nutmeg. The verdict? Gross, gross, and . . . gross.

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But the jack o’lanterns are ready! They’re staying in the screened porch for safety right now, because our neighborhood suffers from a population of particularly rapacious squirrels. And today I’ve picked up a pile of candy–we’re on a busy street–and so far I’ve managed to share the house with the candy for a good three hours without sampling. I’m going to try to stay strong.

Okay, Halloween: we’re ready.

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