Thursday, November 2, 2006

Trick or Treat . . . Smell My Feet!

If you have a 5 year old at your house, then you have probably heard that as many times as I have this past month. Interestingly enough, 5 year olds NEVER tire of saying it, and then dissolving into uncontrollable laughter. My son is no exception, except maybe for the fact that he ACTUALLY tries to make you smell his feet (he's pretty strong and agile, too, so no laying on the sofa around here until closer to Thanksgiving.)

We tend to do things up big around here for Halloween. It's always been one of my favorite holidays, and even though schools don't have Halloween carnivals anymore, and kids can't trick or treat unsupervised, and you have to check the candy bags for razor blades, it's still a cool holiday. We generally kick things off by erecting our huge blowup scarecrow on October 1 (the Homeowner's Association LOVES us!) and follow that up by repeated viewings of "It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown!" throughout the month, awaiting the arrival of the Big Party To End All Parties that ALWAYS occurs the Saturday before Halloween.

Except this year.

Our friends, who have dutifully thrown the best party ever for many, many years, finally decided to discontinue the tradition this year. Speculation is that the party was getting too big, there were too many people, too much booze and weed, and too many hassles, too many complaints from the neighbors, and too much hassle all around. Can't say I blame them, but damn, was I disappointed.

But, I did what you do when the best party in the world is dead and gone, I found another. It seemed a shame not to take advantage of our costumes (Red Riding Hood and The Big Bad Wolf), so we crashed the Masquerade Ball at Wild Bill's Saloon. It was lots of fun, about 5,000 people strong, and nearly everyone was dressed up!

It drew a big crowd, because there was $5,000 on the line for Best Costume. There were guys there on stilts inside 8 foot tall monster costumes, all manner of witches, goblins, devils, and superheroes. There was even one lady who had recreated a full-scale framed painting of the Mona Lisa, which she wore and stuck her own head and arms through. I saw her dancing with Teen Wolf at one point (he took the big prize, by the way. Don't you know the stilts monster guys were pissed off about that?)

Saturday slowly, ever so slowly gave way to Tuesday . . . THE day. I don't know how the kids made it through the school day! I joined my kindergartener for "Fall Centers" (remember, they can't call it a Halloween Party in public school) and I was in charge of helping kids glue eyes and mouths to foam pumpkin cutouts. My "center" was totally outdone by the "smear peanut butter on a pinecone and roll it in birdseed" center, not to mention the "make a spider out of doughnuts and pretzel sticks and icing and decorate with candy" center. Ah, well . . . when it's all said and done, and the doughnut spiders have been eaten, and the birdseed and peanut butter have all been pecked away, my foam pumpkin cutouts will remain (that is, if the moms don't throw them in the garbage the minute that Halloween is over. I keep all that stuff, but then again, I am sort of a packrat when it comes to stuff my kids make.)

Once the agony of the school day had passed, and I extricated myself from my work (harder and harder these days), we prepared ourselves for The Moment . . . Sundown on Halloween night. Hub had been home sick the previous day and Halloween day with some kind of stomach bug, but he was a trooper, gathering the troops. We had invited the kids' friends to come walk the neighborhood with us. Really sweet kids, brother and sister, same age as my two, and all four are inseparable. We had missed the little boy's birthday earlier in the month, so we set up a quick party table with cupcakes (like you need THAT on Halloween), popcorn and presents. Imagine our surprise when he showed up, dressed exactly like MY kid!


The kids decided to pool their resources and dump their candy into a community wagon as we went through the neighborhood. The wagon was pulled by Weenie the Wonderdog, who was celebrating her 3rd "birthday" with us (I got her from the pound on Halloween day, 2003.)

By the time 8:00 pm rolled around, we had (easily) 15 pounds of candy, 4 tired kids, and a worn out dog. It was worth it. And for the record, nope, I didn't eat ANY candy. Good for me.

Happy Halloween, ya'll.

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