Monday, November 2, 2009

the halloweeners

I know I haven't been blogging a lot lately. Life around here is as busy as ever but I've been training for this upcoming cancer charity walk for months and it's been so time-consuming for so long that frankly I've had to miss out on a lot of activities with the kids that would normally serve as blogging material. John and the kids give me the summary of what I missed afterwards but I don't feel like I can write about something I wasn't there to experience. A couple of times I sent my camera along with John but he forgot to use it. I just don't understand a person who doesn't feel the need to take pictures every few minutes. My walk is less that 3 weeks away now and I'm looking forward not only to completing it but also to getting my life back to normal.

I decided to post about Halloween though for us the Halloween season, as it's become for us, isn't over yet--we still have a huge costume party to attend this upcoming weekend.

Here is a look at our Halloween so far. The weekend before Halloween the girls got their costumes on for the first time and we stopped at Grandma's house on the way to meet up with friends at a pumpkin patch in her area. The girls each chose their own costumes and Allison definitely wins the award for most absorbed into her character this year. She was shouting over and over again, "I am the USA....cheerleader!" while shaking her pom-poms around and jumping. Kate was definitely jealous of Allison's costume and asked to borrow the pom-poms several times. In exchange she offered Allison her giraffe head, which Allison never wanted since it wouldn't match her dress.

At the pumpkin patch that morning we found our friends, though some have reached the stage where they are too cool for a staged group photo and aren't pictured below.

And the girls picked out some pumpkins since they would be going with John to a pumpkin-carving party later that day (an example of something I missed, since I had to go walking instead).

Then the girls' school held it's Halloween parade after school on thursday. Kids weren't allowed to wear their costumes during the school day but afterwards a large number of parents showed up and most of the kids and teachers participated. On the left is Allison's teacher and her class.

This photo of Kate's class lineup strikes me as funny. A cute little giraffe in the middle of all kinds of dark characters and superheros. In the course of the parade some older kids came up to Kate and commented in a distinct wise-assery voice, "Hmm. I would have thought a giraffe would be TALLER. Who ever heard of a short giraffe?" I had to kinda tell those kids to get lost.

On Halloween the girls and I walked to a nearby church which was having a fall harvest festival which was open to the public. The girls played some games and since we showed up during the last hour of the event, they were given out huge handfuls of candy instead of a single piece per game.

The church volunteers passed out little bags for the kids to hold all of their candy and prizes and by the time we got home they had a pretty good sized stash each. I looked through their bags and found the predictable annoying little churchy "Have a fun Halloween but remember Jesus died for you" brochure in each one, so I tossed them out before the girls noticed them. They already know that candy isn't healthy and can rot their teeth, they don't need their fun further dampened by the threat of eternal damnation.

Back at home I had some decorating to do to get ready for the evening. I put a few more things up this year than I have in years past. I was happy to have a home to be able to decorate again, since last Halloween we were living in an apartment.

As for the pumpkins, John and the girls bought and carved four the week before, but just as I thought would happen, they were moldy by Halloween. One was so moldy that it was already liquefying and I had to throw it out. The others were at least still mostly intact though getting squishy, but I put still candles in a couple of them. I figured a little mold could only add to the scary nature of the porch.

Before John and the girls went to their carving party we scooped out the pumpkins. Normally I don't buy pumpkins at a patch because they cost more ($20 for 4). As I was scooping them I was surprised to see how quickly and easily they could be cleaned out. A few days later I bought some cheapo grocery store pumpkins (5 for $7.50) so we'd have some fresher jack-o-lanterns and they were a HUGE pain to get cleaned out, requiring 10-15 minuntes of scraping and scooping each, just as they are every year. I have no idea why there was a difference, but if fresher pumpkins from a patch are always that much easier to deal with I'll happily pay $5 for them again.

I carved my cheapo pumpkins and placed them among the older ones we had and got everything lit up just in time for night fall:

And it all looked pretty good for a one hour effort, I guess. After dinner the girls headed out with John and I stayed to pass out candy. Each year they go to a few more houses and are gone a little longer. Erin used to visit just our neighboring few houses, then more of our street, then some cross streets, and this year they were gone with John for a hour and came home with huge sacks of candy.

Back at home I faced the most treat-or-treaters that I can remember at this house. I think I passed out 9 or 10 bags of candy and I got lots of compliments from many groups of kids for the decorations and the pumpkins. When the girls got back home and into their pajamas they loved answering the door and seeing how other kids were dressed and passing out our candy to them.

All the decorations, inside and out, are now put away, except for the costumes. Gotta dress up one more time this weekend and our Halloween season will finally be concluded... just in time for Thanksgiving.

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