Monday, November 1, 2010
We didn't do Halloween when I was a kid. I seem to recall my mom explaining that she once was in Europe visiting family and the Europeans were just aghast that we Americans let our kids go begging for food and there was something about religion in there, too. I also think that the money involved with putting together a costume was a hindrance but that's mostly a guess. We didn't hand out candy. We lived in an apartment complex so no one came knocking much anyway. My mom kept a roll of nickels by the door and would hand out a nickel if we happened to have a guest. At the end of 5th grade, we moved to Cincinnati. My mom and dad had gotten married, my mom had finished dental school, and we were starting fresh as a new family. I wanted to trick or treat with some friends. I was allowed to go 2 years. I remember going with a junior high friend and we both dressed up like babies- footie pajamas and pigtails and pacifiers around our necks. I remember going with a friend, her brother, and her sister and walking for what felt like miles and miles and miles. After those 2 years, my mom started bribing me. I could go out trick or treating OR she would give me money, take me out to dinner, and then I could go spend my money however I wanted. She usually bought me a bag of candy, too. Pretty good deal, right? My parents didn't hand out candy. We would either go out to eat so we just wouldn't be home or we would keep all the lights off and hang out in our basement, watching TV. I remember one year being home and I was hanging out in my upstairs bedroom. All front house lights were turned off- and without any lights, the front of tha thouse was very dark. I heard the doorbell. I came part way down the steps. My dad answered the door. 2 girls, probably about age 10 or 11. No parent with them. 2 girls and my dad invited them inside. And the dingbats came in. On the one hand, stupid move because they didn't know me or my family or anything- why would you step foot inside a stranger's house? On the other hand, stupid move because they didn't know how corny and difficult my dad could be. They stepped inside and cheerily sang out "trick or treat!" My dad responded with, "OK, do a trick!" I wanted the staircase to open up and swallow me. The girls couldn't see me from where I was sitting but I was mortified. "Go on! Say a poem or sing a song! Do a trick and I'll give you a treat!" The girls looked at each other, at their shoes, they said "um" and "uh" a lot. "Well? You said trick or treat, right? I want to see a trick! Put on a show!" One of them eventually mumbled out some sort of poem or something. I have no clue what my dad then gave them- most likely gave them each a dollar or something. I was angry because I was so embarassed. I couldn't believe how uncool my dad had been to those girls! Now I'm an adult and I look back on it and still feel that anger and embarassment of my teenaged self... but I also understand. The lights were out, we had no decorations, the house was dark. Now I shake my head at the choices of these 2 girls. What if my dad hadn't been a safe person? They stepped foot into a strange house after being invited in by a strange man and no other person was visible to them in our house. Bad, bad choices. Maybe one of my brothers will chime in... I was out on my own by the itme they were old enough to enjoy Halloween. I'm betting my parents never gave out candy but I think my brothers did get to go trick or treating once or twice. I also think they ended up doing church based activities during trick or treat hours. So Halloween wasn't something I did as a kid... so of course I really do it as an adult! We went to a school party Friday evening. I took the kids to a "spookhouse" at our favorite restaurant- Scotty's Lakehouse- where they had games, spooky lights, cartoons, music, and treats. Sunday there was a special Halloween themed lunch at church. Sunday afternoon we did a trunk or treat event at our sister church. And we set up some decorations and handed out goodies and took the kids trick or treating Sunday evening. * We didn't hand out candy this year. We did little bags of pretzels, little boxes of raisins, and fun goodies like puzzles, play doh, and mini card games. We have plenty of the non-food items to save for next year! * Our neighborhood doesn't have huge Halloween traffic and our street is a smaller street that gets even less traffic than other streets. We went through less than 25 bags of pretzels and 30 boxes of raisins. * Christy took the first shift of handing out candy so that Jeff and I could hit the houses on our street with the kids. We did one block, came back around, picked up Christy, dropped off Zach and Jeff, and hit the other block. According to Jeff, several kids loved our decorations. We had a little something on the door, some of those window light up things that we put in a bush by the door and on our stone wall by the steps, a giant light up pumpkin, and a boom box playing a CD of Halloween-ish songs (Monster Mash, Time Warp, Don't Fear The Reaper, and more). * I didn't count how many donations we got but we had a nice hefty cart full of canned goods that we will take to the food pantry this week! * Teagan came up with her own line to say door to door. She would say trick or treat, get her candy, say thank you, and then "Do you have any donations for the food pantry?" We had talked about what we were going to do but she started working on what to say on Sunday morning with no prompting from us. And when we went door to door, she made eye contact and spoke up and totally scored. We were only turned down twice. There were a couple of houses on our street that I know have more elderly people living in them- it's harder for them to get around so I would tell her not to ask at those houses. She then decided we just don't ask old people. And would soemtimes turn around and say "Is that an old man, Mommy?" We had to iron that one out a little bit- ask anyone you feel it is ok to ask. Ask at every house unless Mommy says not to! And there were times she used her judgement to not ask- and I praised her for it. Creepy-ish guy at the door- not necessary to have additional interaction. Talked a lot about using her judgement and making a good call based on her gut. * Jeff made the shield to go with Zach's costume. He did an awesome job! It's made from 2 pieces of hard foam and had elastic loops on the back- I should do a separate post showing the progress pics Jeff took. We're going to save that shield- I want to hang it up in the kids' bedroom! We had originally planned for Teagan to wear a pink shirt. However, when she got dressed for church, she put on an orange shirt. On the way home after church, she told me she wanted to keep the orange shrit on under her costume because orange is Daddy's high school's color. She even came up with her own little "Go Huskies!" cheer with pompom moves and everything. She was very proud of her orange choice- as was Daddy!