Halloween afternoon found me (and the youngest four) pulling into a parking spot in downtown Ogden. To the left of me a large construction sign blinked “Caution. Zombie Crossing.” while to the right and in front of me Christmas Village was being set up. (Dear little November – all sandwiched between jack-o-lanterns and cornstalks, and twinkly lights and music: unsure of which it belongs to and trying to fit in a holiday all its own as well.)
After some errand running I rushed back home to get kids down for naps, rolls rising, and stew meat cooking. It was a push, I knew, hoping the rolls would rise by dinner time. (I tried to hurry it along by sticking them in a spot of sun on the floor in our front room – crossing my fingers that Hans wouldn’t discover them [and that no one else would accidentally step on them].) I typically make stew for Halloween. (Except I suppose it can really only be called soup -- as I never bother to thicken it – poor near-stew.) In any case, it didn’t occur to me that anyone cared one way or another about having it for dinner, but, the day before, when several kids asked eagerly if we’d be having stew for Halloween, I realized with a bit of surprise that it had become a little tradition to them, and getting it made suddenly seemed far more necessary than it had 24 hours earlier.
That evening Abe went about lighting all our porch pumpkins while Mike lit our little mason-jar mummies, etc. in the house. (Halloween might be the only night of the year that it occurs to me to light candles around the house.) Then I tried to get pictures on the porch in near-dark conditions of kids eager to be getting candy, and walked with them around just our cul-de-sac. After that, we trick-or-treated our own house. (The kids all rushed Abe as he answered the door -- pushing at and mobbing him as they simultaneously went for candy and came into the house. Had any other trick-or-treaters behaved in that manner, it would have been terrifying. Like being taken over by a pack of very small furry animals.)
Mike then took over with the kids. They went around the block – then deposited the tired ones back home while he took Penny and Jesse to go to more houses in our ward and to his parents’.
(I was quite pleased with the little batty-monster I whipped out of my head and onto my pumpkin in two seconds flat. Almost as pleased as Jesse was with his pumpkin with dollar signs for eyes. And at least as pleased as Mette was with the pumpkin Abe carved. She had zero interest in taking part in the process [or even in watching it] – only in shouting occasional demands: “Carve my pumpkin Abe!” “Abe, get my pumpkin ready!”.)
Goldie stayed home with me and passed out candy. Snickers and M&Ms to ordinary trick-or-treaters, the suckers she’d turned into ghosts and spiders to the tiny kids, and Ding-Dongs to closer friends and neighbors. Daisy went off to play games at a friends’ house and Abe did the same (with me cautioning him repeatedly to drive more slowly and carefully than he ever had – ever wary for little ghosts and super heroes and princesses and vampires). (As he walked up to his friend’s house, he put an old sheet with eye holes cut into it over his head. A family with young trick-or-treaters was leaving the doorstep. As they passed Abe, they grumbled loudly to each other about teenagers trick-or-treating – clearly intending for him to hear. Poor Abe. He felt terrible. And he was just trying to go to his friend’s house! But if he had been trick-or-treating . . . one poor teen, all alone, with nothing but a sheet for a costume . . . surely he’d have deserved a little sympathy and kindness! Haha.)
(Mette saw her first treat as a complete victory. She’d done it! She’d said “trick-or-treat” and now had a Kit-Kat in her little hand. I think she would have been fine going home right after that if we hadn’t urged her to set her heights higher. . . .)
I’m finding myself liking Halloween night more and more as the years go by. I love the simpleness (we don’t put a lot of effort into costumes), and I love the cozy feel of pumpkins and candles and eager little kids.